We cannot really be sure what to think about those five out of 10s in this morning’s England match reports, or the barbed “not quite ready” remarks on one debutant’s individual performance in a poor team performance. Maybe we should just be quietly content; we know how good Jordan Henderson is and it’ll do Sunderland no harm if the rest of the world, and notably the predatory “big clubs”, reach a kneejerk conclusion that he’s not – yet – such a star after all. Luke’s World oozes the common sense thoughts of Luke Harvey …
The child in me is still delirious after the weekend’s triumph but seeing our very own Jordan Henderson struggle against a disciplined French side was a slightly bitter pill to swallow.
While the older members who contribute around these parts seem to have returned to earth after the weekend, my heads still up in the clouds – not quite cloud nine but definitely at least four or five.
Perhaps it ís the fact that I’m still quite young and this result may very well be one of the most prominent in 30 years time for me, but I’m not quite ready to stop grinning over our brilliant win just yet.
So to the England match. If you were fortunate enough to only see the final 10 minutes of it – good for you. If you sat through the first 80 as well – then you were probably as disillusioned as I was.
It wasn’t that I watched the match expecting us to win, in fact I watched the match solely for the reason Jordan Henderson was getting his first England cap. Had there been no Sunderland involvement then I may well have had the same dim view on the match as my other contributors.
Henderson, in theory, has almost been made an immediate scapegoat. His debut contrasted somewhat to that of his fellow North-eastern neighbour. Listening to the commentators you would think Andy Carroll was the only ray of light in the harrowing darkness that was England.
Call me a cynic. Or call me a Sunderland fan. But Andy Carroll’s debut wasn’t brilliant by any means. It was a competent display up front amongst an inexperienced team, and credit to him for not letting the occasion overawe him like it may have some – but we had no real attacking threat until there was only 10 minutes or so to play – with Carroll long since substituted – and even Jay Bothroyd managed to get a decent attacking effort on target.
Henderson, however, really was caught up amongst the slick passing game of the French. I mentioned just before kick off I was unsure how he would cope in the more defensive role he appeared to be undertaking. Truth is, he probably wasn’t nearly as defensive as I had first thought but the attacking intent of Walcott, Gerrard and Milner meant he and Barry were overran by the fluid French midfield.
Make no mistake, Henderson was no worse than any of his co-stars on the night at Wembley, it was more an anonymous performance than poor.
Think back to the way he linked up so cleverly with Welbeck and Gyan in the second goal at Stamford Bridge to show his true class as an attacking force. The intelligent pass and run to drag the defender out of position to give Gyan the space to pick his spot.
There were glimpses of that maturity on display against France – but just not in abundance. There were intelligent runs and dangerous looking moments, but ultimately all Henderson has to show for his first England appearance is a cap and a yellow card.
Still, it’s all just in a days work for a 20 year old – a month younger than myself. Iím sure Henderson has a long England career ahead of himself, perhaps he wonít feature in any of the remaining European qualifiers but I can only hope that because he didn’t particularly sparkle against France it doesn’t affect the chances of him being picked again soon.