JORDAN Henderson feels he remains on an upward curve as he nears the end of his second full season as a Premier League player.
The 20-year-old has been the only ever-present in the top flight for Sunderland this season in a campaign where he made his senior England bow.
Despite boss Steve Bruce admitting Henderson could have done with a breather at some stage, the midfielder believes he has become a more rounded player over the last year.
Henderson said: “I do feel I’ve improved this season. I’m a better player than I was 12 months ago.
“It has been another great season for me. I’ve had some ups and downs along the way, but it’s all part of my development.
“I’ve coped okay with the second season thing.
“I’m improving every day, that is what I’m aiming to do.
“I’m enjoying myself at Sunderland, I’m not looking to leave. I’m playing every week in the Premier League and that’s all I’ve ever dreamed of doing.
“I do need to score more goals. I think that’s the big weakness in my game. It’s the one aspect I’ve been disappointed with.
“I think I need to get into some better positions and take more risks.
“It’s something I’m working on and I’m sure it will come.”
Henderson was physically spent in the closing stages of Sunderland’s goalless draw at Arsenal last weekend after a gruelling effort in closing down the Gunners midfield.
But he was relieved his exertions were rewarded with the Black Cats ending their four-game losing streak.
Henderson added: “It wasn’t a victory, but it was very important we ended the run of defeats and there aren’t many better places to get a draw than the Emirates. It can definitely act as a catalyst.
“Last season we had a slump that went on for months, but we’ve got another little break now and then a home game against Liverpool to look forward to.”