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Jordan Henderson urges England to be fearless against Germany

·4-min read

Jordan Henderson has told his young England team-mates to play without fear when they meet Germany in the last 16 at Euro 2020.

The majority of the current squad are not old enough – or not even born – when the two countries met in the semi-final of Euro 96.

Current Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate memorably missed a penalty as Germany won at Wembley en route to lifting the trophy 25 years ago.

Now he will be aiming to mastermind a victory over the same opponents to take England into the quarter-finals.

While England advanced as winners of Group D, they scored just twice in their three games and many suggested drawing anyone from the so-called group of death could see them eliminated.

With France and Portugal potential opponents from Group F, it was ultimately Germany who landed a tie against England at Wembley.

Southgate has one of the youngest squads at the finals and named England’s youngest-ever starting line-up at a major tournament in Friday’s goalless draw with Scotland.

But Henderson, one of only two players over the age of 30 in the 26-man squad, believes the exuberance of a young team can work in England’s favour.

Jordan Henderson's experience will be key to a young England squad
Jordan Henderson’s experience will be key to a young England squad (Nick Potts/PA)

“We’ve got quite a young squad but I think that can be a positive thing,” he said.

“A lot of these lads just go out and play, enjoy the game, play with no fear. And that’s what they need to do again on Tuesday.

“Go and enjoy it, go and show everybody how good they are. Use the emotion and passion in the right way to give you energy for the game, because that can be the difference really.

“As an experienced player I can help with that and make sure we’re in the right frame of mind going into the game and make sure training’s at the level it needs to be over the next few days to prepare for that one.

“Everybody’s confident, everybody’s feeling good and we’ve got a good few days to prepare for a huge game.

“But a lot of the lads have played in huge games already: Champions League finals, Champions League games, cup finals, big games for England. They’re used to big games even though they’re young and I’m sure they’re looking forward to this one.”

Henderson played the second half of England’s Group D win over the Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

The Liverpool skipper had been on the sidelines as he recovered from groin surgery but is now keen to see off Germany and reach the quarter-finals.

“It would mean everything to us to get into the next round of the tournament,” he said.

“To beat Germany as well is special because it’s always a big game. It would mean everything as a squad to be able to progress.

“We’ll look forward to the game and all we can do is give absolutely everything we’ve got on Tuesday and hopefully that’s enough to win.

“It’s exciting. It’s a huge game and one we’ll be looking forward to. We knew whatever team we faced would be a big challenge and Germany will certainly be that. We need to prepare well and give everything against them.”

Henderson’s appearance against the Czechs was his 60th senior cap and he is still seeking his first England goal.

He saw an effort ruled out for offside on Tuesday, having missed a penalty in the warm-up win over Romania.

Southgate said after that game that he had expected Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take the spot-kick but Henderson insists there were no repercussions and he would have no issues putting his name forward if the Germany clash went all the way to a shoot-out.

“I think it was blown out of proportion after the game,” he said.

England Training Session – St George’s Park – Monday June 14th
Henderson insists there was no issue with Dominic Calvert-Lewin over him taking a penalty against Romania (PA)

“There was nothing to be said afterwards internally. I was disappointed to miss but I was more disappointed for Dom as well, he could’ve had another goal for England.

“But it was a thing that was probably blown out of proportion a little bit. No need to dwell on that and speak about it afterwards.

“In terms of penalties going forward, we practice penalties here all the time, especially in tournaments.

“The gaffer depending on who’s playing and who finishes the game and things like that the gaffer will decide his penalty takers on the night. It’s not really down to me but I’ll always take one.”