Gerrard Behind Henderson Bid

  • Last Updated: June 1 2012, 16:05 BST

England skipper Steven Gerrard is backing replacement midfielder Jordan Henderson to prove the doubters wrong in plugging the gap left by the injured Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry at Euro 2012.

Gerrard: Good opportunity for Henderson

Henderson struggled to reproduce his best form during his first season at Liverpool after a £20 million move from Sunderland.

But Reds captain Gerrard has no doubt that Henderson will flourish and realise his potential after being promoted from the England stand-by group for Poland and Ukraine.

Gerrard said: "Jordan is buzzing. Obviously he didn't want it (the call-up) to happen in this situation. No-one wants to see a player injured and then you come in.

"But you have to take your opportunity and Jordan is a very exciting player, one for the future, and it is a great opportunity for him.

"What people have got to understand is that he is still very young in football terms.

"He is 21, he will gain experience, he will gain confidence, he will gain belief and he will improve and get stronger.

"I was 21 and was nowhere near the finished article. I can guarantee you that, if the public are criticising Jordan, they will change their opinion of him very soon.

"He will prove them wrong. He is good enough to do it and will thrive on what is coming up."

Gerrard believes all the players have a responsibility to ensure the loss of Barry and Lampard, who have won 143 caps between them for their country, is compensated.

But he concedes it may lead to his own role in the side being modified ahead of Saturday's international friendly with Belgium at Wembley.

Gerrard said: "The responsibility is on the whole squad. Those two (Barry and Gerrard) are big players for the team and they will be missed.

"As a group we have to share the responsibility around and maybe it might alter my position slightly, but we will have to wait and see what the manager decides to do.

"I know Roy likes to play a system where he likes his midfielders to be slightly more disciplined than we are used to at our clubs but we have to adapt to that.

"It is not about me and what I want, it's about what is best for the team. Players might have to adapt the roles at their clubs to suit his formation and his team and I'm totally fine with that."

Gerrard already has one eye on England's opening Euro 2012 clash with France in Donetsk on June 11 and knows it is vital they avoid defeat.

He said: "I watched France last night against Serbia and they looked very strong. They are a good team. We know a lot about them because we've played against them before.

"They've got some players that play in the Premier League. We have a lot of respect for them but they are not unbeatable.

"We know if we play to our maximum, our top form, there's a chance we can beat them. There is a big rivalry. There have been some mega clashes in the game.

"It's very important not to lose the game. A win would be fantastic but, if we can avoid defeat, it sets us up nicely for the next two.

"The challenge is to get out of the group, hopefully in first spot, but getting out is the first challenge."

Gerrard also knows the importance of England ending their warm-up programme on a high although he is aware of the rise of Belgium as a footballing force.

He said: "It's a big game, the last preparation game before France. We want to win this game and go into the tournament on a high and improve the confidence and belief.

"It's an opportunity for everyone to stake claims and places so I don't think you will see anyone holding back. We want to win this game.

"But the Belgium squad is very strong with world class players and they are very young and the future is very bright for Belgium.

"We are aware of people like Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen and Eden Hazard. As a team, we can't concentrate on three or four players. We have to be aware of the side as a whole.

"Hazard is well known in England and Chelsea have done very well to sign a player of his calibre. He is a world class player and I'm sure he will set the Premier League alight."