England skipper Steven Gerrard has backed his Liverpool team-mate Jordan Henderson to prove his critics wrong at Euro 2012.
Henderson moved to the Reds last summer for a 20-million-pound fee, despite having just one full Premier League season under his belt at Sunderland, and struggled to live up to the hype surrounding the transfer.
Gerrard, though, said Henderson can realise his potential on the big stage in Poland and Ukraine at this summer’s Championship and has no worries that he can cope after being promoted from the stand-by group.
The 32-year-old told the press: “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.”
Gerrard also feels that people have been too harsh on Henderson in only his first full season at Anfield and insists there is plenty more to come.
He said: “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.”
Henderson has been the subject of criticism from the press and the public, who feel that England boss Roy Hodgson had more players to work with in his ranks than he perhaps first estimated.
Gerrard said he can relate to Henderson’s situation as a young player being thrown in at the deep end, and is confident he can prove those who doubt him wrong.
The captain added: “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.”
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