Henderson unhappy with criticism England lack ‘leaders’

Date published: Thursday 10th November 2016 7:23

Jordan Henderson: Captained England in Slovenia

Jordan Henderson: Captained England in Slovenia

Jordan Henderson has hit back at suggestions the current England squad lacks leadership.

Much of the criticism aimed at the team in the aftermath of their Euro 2016 failure cited a dearth of on-field generals and big personalities.

Former internationals Chris Waddle and Terry Butcher, the latter one of England’s most distinguished captains, are among those to share the view.

Butcher, for one, would like a more stirring style of leadership on the pitch but Henderson, who stood in for regular skipper Wayne Rooney in Slovenia last month, does not see a problem.

“Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I’ve learned that over the years,” he told BBC Radio Five Live ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

“But it doesn’t really matter what other people think. It only matters what the team thinks and what the manager and the management team think.

“They are the only important opinions that matter to us. I know there are leaders in the team, I know we’ve got great characters so that isn’t a question in our dressing room.

“The question is can we got out there and perform at the highest level to win the game. I’m confident we can.”

Interim manager Gareth Southgate has been treading a fine line in preparing the players this week, driving home the importance of the game against England’s oldest rivals but also urging for a calmness of thought on the pitch.

Henderson has taken the message on board and will be aiming for an intense performance that does not stray into the realm of recklessness.

“We want to come flying out of the traps,” he said.

“But emotionally we need to be controlled. Aggression is really important but it needs to be the right level, not making fouls, not being silly.

“It’s about being hungry and having the desire to win the ball, to go and score a goal. It’s really important but it’s a fine line between aggression and over the top.”

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