JORDAN Henderson is confident that he will get another chance in the senior England set-up despite finding himself back in the Under-21 ranks.
Henderson is expected to start alongside Sunderland team-mate Danny Welbeck for the U21s in tonight’s friendly in Denmark as boss Stuart Pearce fine-tunes his preparations for the summer’s European Championships.
The 20-year-old made his full England bow in November’s 2-1 defeat to France at Wembley, where he struggled to impose himself on the game.
Henderson was subsequently left out of England’s February friendly in Denmark and sent back to the U21s, where he withdrew from the friendly with Italy through injury.
But the former Coventry loanee is not bitter at seeing his international progress stall and remains optimistic that his opportunity will come again.
“I don’t really know what their thoughts were in selecting me for one game, but it doesn’t really bother me,” he said.
“If I’m playing for the U21s, I’ll try just as hard as I would for the full England squad.
“There’s a great bunch of lads in the U21s and I loved playing there when we went to Portugal for the European Championship qualifiers.
“When I moved up to the first-team squad that was a brilliant experience as well, I’d love to do that again.
“But I think I’ve just got to keep my feet on the ground, keep working hard and I’ll get my chance again.”
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce admits he would ideally have rested Henderson at some stage over the second half of the season, with the midfielder’s high standards dipping through fatigue.
Injuries to fellow central midfielders Lee Cattermole and David Meyler robbed Bruce of options though and Henderson remains the only Sunderland player to have started every Premier League game this season.
But Henderson remains highly regarded by England boss Fabio Capello, who praised the youngster in the run-up to his debut against France.
Henderson added: “It’s really nice to hear such a big figure in football saying such good things about you. You’ve just got to take the good with the bad.
“I reckon there’s a lot of people in football who will have a different opinion on that, but it’s nice to hear.
“I’ve just got to concentrate on what we’re doing here (at Sunderland) and what we’re trying to achieve. I just want to keep improving and I think I can do that.”