Jordan Henderson has 69 international caps and will play his sixth major championship with England this winter – if he stays injury-free for the next month or so. The 32-year-old has a lot of experience with the flag on his chest, but the hunger is still the same as when he made his national team debut almost twelve years ago.
In an interview with the Mirror, he was asked if the World Cup in Qatar will be his last opportunity to win a trophy with the national team.
– I do not hope so! I still feel good. I don’t have to look that far ahead, because I think we have a great opportunity in the World Cup. We have done well in the previous championships, and hopefully we can take the lessons from there with us, says the Liverpool captain.
He has won everything there is to win at club level and has been close in both the European Championship and the World Cup under Gareth Southgate’s management of the national team. As one of the coach’s most trusted men, he hopes to get a few more years for the “Three Lions”.
– Some players are in the national team at the age of 36 and 37, so it depends on how you feel physically. I feel very good. Last season I played more games than anyone else in Europe. If I hadn’t been motivated I wouldn’t be here, but it’s always just as exciting to be called into the squad. I still have a lot to contribute, and until that changes I see no reason to talk about giving up, he says.
As good as always
There were a total of 62 games for club and national team last season, and it may have cost the midfielder, who suffered a hamstring injury in the game against Newcastle in August. He was initially not included in the squad for the decisive Nations League matches against Italy and Germany, but was called up when Kalvin Phillips announced his absence due to injury.
He himself says that the form could not have been better.
– I don’t know if I’m in better shape now than when I was 20, because it was pretty good then too! But I’m in a good place physically. It’s such an important part of my game that I’m very keen to take care of my body out on the pitch.
– Ever since I was little, I have been concerned about eating right, and I have never been out drinking alcohol during a season. For me it has always been about football and more football, says Henderson.
Think the trophy can “come home”
This summer, England got a taste of a national team trophy when the women’s national team won the EC on home soil. The hosts have gone home empty-handed every single time since 1966, but have rarely been closer than under Southgate.
Henderson believes an upturn may be in the offing.
– I always feel that we have an opportunity to win. The dream of and the opportunity to achieve something big has always been there, he says.
He chooses to use the disappointments on the road for something positive.
– It’s about excitement, adrenaline and experiences from previous tournaments. We want to create more memories, and to do that we have to hit one hundred percent in everything we do both on and off the pitch. Then we may have an opportunity, he says.
England meet Italy in Milan at 8.45pm on Friday. If Henderson and co lose that match, relegation to level B in the Nations League is a fact.