Euro 2012: Liverpool’s Henderson ready to answer England critics

Jordan Henderson says criticism aimed at the Liverpool midfielder only acts as motivation to impress with England

frank lampard
Frank Lampard was replaced by Jordan Henderson in England's squad Photo: The Sport Review

frank lampard

Jordan Henderson has vowed to answer his critics ahead of England’s next Group D tie against Sweden on Friday.

The 20-year-old was a late call-up to Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 squad after Frank Lampard withdrew from the tournament with a thigh injury.

Henderson’s inclusion was largely criticised, with more experienced midfielders such as Michael Carrick omitted from Hodgon’s plans for the European championship.

But the Liverpool youngster, who signed in a £20m deal from Sunderland last summer, is ready to prove his potential should the England manager call on the midfielder against Sweden.

“There has been a lot of criticism but that is part and parcel of football – it doesn’t bother me,” said Henderson.

“Maybe at the start of the season, I needed to deal with the increased scrutiny that comes with playing for Liverpool a little bit better.

“But I wouldn’t want it any other way now. I think I’ve taken it quite well and it’s the way I like it to be.

“I would rather have people criticising. It gives you that little bit more incentive to go and prove them wrong.

“I think more about what the manager at Liverpool and my teammates think or the manager and the players with England.

“It’s more important what they think, so there’s no criticism that has stuck but I know when I don’t play well and when I know when I play well.

“I am very critical of myself so I need to be a little bit more confident at times.”

Pre-match facts: Sweden v England

• Sweden have never lost a competitive game against England, with their seven previous encounters ending W2 D5 L0; the teams’ last three competitive match-ups all produced draws.

• When England beat Sweden 1-0 in a friendly on 15 November 2011, it was their first victory in 43 years against the Scandinavians, following a run of eight draws and four defeats since a 3-1 Wembley success on 22 May 1968.

• Erik Hamren’s side had won four games out of four in 2012 before their defeat by Ukraine.

• Finalists eight times, England have never won their opening game at a European championship. In their last three tournaments, however – 1996, 2000 and 2004 – they won their second fixture.

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