JORDAN Henderson hopes Fraizer Campbell enjoys his big moment at Wembley tonight and says the call-up could not have happened to a more deserving footballer.
The former Sunderland midfielder is best mates with England’s newest frontman and will follow the Black Cats striker’s progress with interest this evening – once he gets his own England duties out of the way.
Henderson will lead England Under 21s out at the Riverside in Middlesbrough this evening (kick-off 6pm) in an important Euro U21 2013 qualifier against the team immediately below them in the group, Belgium U21s.
“I was over the moon when I heard the news about Fraizer’s call-up,” Henderson told the Echo.
“I’m good friends with him as well, which made it even better. The call-up couldn’t have gone to a nicer guy.”
Henderson said he enjoyed playing with Campbell during their time together at Sunderland, but admitted those occasions were far from numerous, with the former Manchester United striker’s career-threatening injuries sidelining him for 17 months.
For Henderson, the 24-year-old’s successful comeback illustrates more than anything the steely character beneath the self-effacing, pleasant exterior of the new England man.
“With Fraizer having a bad injury and then another bad injury on top of that, just as he was ready to come back, it has been a horrible time for him and he deserves every get bit of good news he gets.
“It couldn’t have happened to a nicer lad but he’s worked hard to get back to where he is. I’m sure the lads at Sunderland are absolutely delighted to have him back too.
“He’s great to have around the dressing room. He’s an excellent footballer and he’s always positive, always upbeat and you need those sort of characters in your team when you’re trying to focus on doing well in matches.”
Henderson, who will skipper an England Under-21 side that includes Sunderland striker Connor Wickham, admits he would have loved to have been playing alongside his former Black Cat team-mate this evening.
But he insists that he is not envious.
“I’ve played for England at Wembley before and it was a great experience,” he said. “Ultimately, my plan is to get back into the senior team.
“But I’ve got a job to do for the England Under 21s this evening and I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s a great privilege to be a captain of the side and I know I have to get out there and lead by example.”