Norway loss inspires Jordan

Jordan Henderson will be looking to erase some disappointing memories when England take on Norway on Wednesday night.

The Liverpool midfielder was captain of the Under-21s when he last faced the Norwegians at the 2013 UEFA Championship in Israel.

After beating them twice during their qualification campaign, Henderson and the young Lions met them again in the group stage of the Finals – but a 3-1 win for Norway sent England out of the competition.

England v Norway

International Match
8pm, Wednesday 3 September 2014
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
www.TheFA.com/tickets

Now, just over a year later, Henderson isn’t the only player from that game in line for an appearance at Wembley on Wednesday.

While England newcomer Danny Rose was in Stuart Pearce’s side that night, Per-Mathias Hoegmo’s Norway squad features no fewer than nine members of the line-up that reached the U21s European Championship semi-finals.

“Norway will certainly give us a tough game if their performances in Israel are anything to go by,” Henderson told TheFA.com.

“Like us, they have seen one of their most experienced players retire, Brede Hangeland, so it looks like they have a young side. I played against a few of them for the Under-21s and they were very good.

“We played them twice in qualifying for the Euros and though we beat them in both, they were tough matches and their attacking play really put us under pressure at times.

Jordan Henderson

Henderson was devastated after defeat to Norway last year

“But in Israel they really played well and punished us. We weren’t at our best and were two down by half-time and they beat us 3-1.”

“That was devastating as it put us out of the competition. Hopefully we can get a result at Wembley which will set us up nicely for our first Euro qualifier in Switzerland next week.”

He continued: “We mustn’t underestimate Norway, they’ve always had a decent record against England and in Morten Gamst Pedersen have a very experienced Premier League player.

“They’ve also got a couple of others who have played in the Premier League, Daehli at Cardiff and Tettey at Norwich, so they will no doubt be looking to impress at Wembley.”

Henderson was also full of praise for his Liverpool team-mate Raheem Sterling, jumping to his defence when questioned about performances during the World Cup.

Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling against Italy

Henderson and Sterling against Italy at the World Cup

The young forward was in dazzling form against Italy in their opening game as England were unlucky to go down 2-1. But it was suggested that he was out of sorts in the second match against Uruguay, which ultimately sent the Three Lions out.

However, Henderson said: “I don’t think he had a bad game, to be honest. I think he done well.

“A 19-year-old playing in the World Cup, the biggest stage in the world. The first game against Italy he was our best player, and against Uruguay when he got the ball he tried to be positive, he tried to take players on.

“In both games I thought he was outstanding.”

He added: “We’ve got a lot of young players here, a lot of potential. The main thing is we go out there and do it, we have to put in performances and show people how good we are.

“I’m still very optimistic about what we can achieve. I know everyone else around us can criticise us, but at the end of the day we believe we can improve and that’s what we’re looking to do.”

England meet Norway at Wembley on Wednesday night to kick off the new season. You can buy tickets online here