Sunderland’s Henderson eager for U21 test

PRAISED ... Sunderland's Jordan Henderson.
PRAISED ... Sunderland's Jordan Henderson.
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JORDAN Henderson has vowed to be fresh for next month’s European U21 Championships, rather than following the lead of international team-mate Jack Wilshere.

Henderson was this week named in England’s final 23-man squad for the tournament in Denmark, along with Sunderland’s on-loan Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck.

The 20-year-old is expected to be a key part of England’s midfield, particularly after Arsenal’s Wilshere opted to pull out of the squad, claiming he was suffering from burnout.

But, despite suffering a dip midway through the season, Henderson insists he is not troubled by fatigue and is looking forward to testing himself against the best youngsters in Europe.

“I am not tired, just looking forward to the summer,” said Henderson, who started every Premier League game bar one for Sunderland.

“That’s two big seasons I have had now so I have to be happy with that. I want to continue to progress though, I certainly don’t want to stand still.

“I got a great experience with England and hopefully I will get my chance again. Once you have tasted it, you just want it more and that’s what I want to do.

“I am feeling fine, I want to go away with the Under-21s and really enjoy it.

“It’s great to go away with the Under-21s and be a part of a group in a big tournament.

“I was always hoping I would make the final 23 because it will be great to represent your country in whatever tournament. I am looking forward to it.

“There are a lot of good teams in the European Championships. We all know about Spain, but we have plenty of good players ourselves.

“Whoever goes we know we have a strong group. Hopefully it will be a successful tournament and we can do really well in it.”

England face Norway in a friendly at Southampton on June 5 before their opening game of the tournament against Spain seven days later. They also face Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

Henderson heads into those games on a high after helping Sunderland finish above Newcastle United and claim a top 10 finish by winning at West Ham last weekend.

“We have finished above Newcastle and that helps to make up for what happened against them earlier in the season,” he added.

“We wanted to finish in the top 10 at the start of the season, but I think we have to be disappointed with the run we went on. We have to deal with the ups and down. It is a little disappointing that we had that run, but we finished on a high to give something back to the fans.

“Football is full of ifs and buts, you get out what you put in and top 10 is a good finish – but next year we will want to improve.”