Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Henderson dismisses talk of penalty problems

England midfielder Jordan Henderson insists the Three Lions do not have a psychological problem with penalty shootouts.

Roy Hodgson’s men crashed out of Euro 2012 at the quarter-final stage on Sunday, after losing out to Italy on spot-kicks following a hard-fought 0-0 draw.

England have now lost seven of their past eight shootouts but the Liverpool midfielder – who made a late appearance as a substitute in the game – insists penalties are not an issue.

“I don’t think it’s a psychological thing at all. It really is just one of these things that happens. None of us were aware or even really thinking about penalties,” Henderson told Goal.com.

“We certainly weren’t worrying about the history of shootouts for England. As I say it was just one of those things that happens in football.”

The 22-year-old was bitterly disappointed at the manner of the team’s exit but hailed their fighting spirit.

“It’s obviously sad to have to go out on penalties. It’s not the way. What makes it worse is that up until that point we never gave up,” he said.

“We kept fighting until the very end. And for that effort it’s disappointing the way we eventually got knocked out.

“We worked really hard as a team. In this game we dug in and showed our fighting qualities. Throughout this competition I thought we always had this never say die attitude.

“There were times when we played some really good stuff too and in some games some of our individual players shone at times as well.

“So there are definitely positives to take from these Euros. That is why I keep saying it’s disappointing to go out the way we did. But I think as players we should all hold our heads up high.”

The Sunderland-born midfielder also hailed Italy’s Andrea Pirlo, who played a crucial role in the Azzurri’s dominance, despite their failure to score.

“He really is a great player. I am not sure what more we could have done to stop him,” Henderson said.

“But I have to say that Scott (Parker) and Stevie (Gerrard) are also great players that we have. They both worked really hard to contain their midfield and for the most part I thought they did very well.”

Despite his disappointment, Henderson believes England have plenty to look forward to in the future thanks to the young talent who showed their promise in Poland and Ukraine.

“I think we had a really good mix in this squad. There were some young players but also some experienced ones,” he said.

“The older ones were great because they really helped us all out and I think there is a lot of promise there looking ahead.”

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