Fabio Cappello has once again proven his desire to blend youth into the England setup by drafting in Jack Wilshere to the senior squad ahead of tomorrows fixture against Montenegro. The Youngster has seen his fair share of first team football in the Premier League, appearing 14 times whilst on loan to Bolton last season, and since establishing a first team place in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal team.
Having already acquired his first England cap in a friendly against Hungary during the summer, the 2010/11 campaign certainly indicates a bright future for the 18-year-old. The media draw comparisons in his passing style and movement to that of Frank Lampard, and his first team appearances clearly state the lad can hack it with the big boys.
Yet there is someone that I feel deserves far more recognition than he’s getting at the minute. Only recently has Jordon Henderson been called up to Stuart Pearce’s Under 21 squad, already making an impact by marking impressive performances with a fine goal in the team’s Euro qualifier with Romania. Henderson has played at a consistently high level for over a season, exhibiting awareness and vision beyond his years, as well as delivering quality crosses and defence splitting passes that should hold the player in the highest regards as one of England’s most promising future talents.
The 20-year-old has become an integral part of Sunderland’s first team under manager Steve Bruce. The versatility of Henderson means that he can play anywhere in midfield, though he has largely been used down the right wing for Sunderland. Due to the unpredictable nature of Lee Cattermole, Henderson has found himself filling in at centre midfield on more than one occasion, each time conjuring displays that show a distinct lack of fear, as well as a profound understanding of the team around him.
Dare I say, it won’t be long until Henderson finds himself wearing a captain’s armband, especially if Lee Cattermole continues his reckless path to self destruction (or more like the destruction of others in his path). It was no coincidence that Sunderland suffered their agonising run of 3 months without a victory, at which time Henderson was out for the majority of the win-less streak injured.
I’m not implying that Jordan Henderson is a better player than Jack Wilshere, or vice versa (even though Henderson has more than double the points Wilshere has so far in the Premier League’s fantasy football stats). Both players adopt different styles and play in different positions, as well as completely different setups as far as clubs are concerned. What is evident is a continuing array of quality coming through in terms of England midfield candidates with the likes of Wilshere, Henderson and Adam Johnson. I just think that if Jack Wilshere has been fast-tracked to the senior squad so quickly, then Jordan Henderson has definitely shown enough quality and imagination as well as having the necessary physical attributes to play at the same level. Whether it’s another case of being ignored because of playing for a North East club is up for debate.
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