Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Henderson Must Lead His Lions to Victory on Rocky Road to Russia

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Henderson Must Lead His Lions to Victory on Rocky Road to Russia

Article excerpt

JORDAN Henderson will lead England out for the crucial World Cup qualifier against Slovakia at Wembley this evening, where manager Gareth Southgate wants his players to bring the crowd to their feet.

Liverpool's Sunderland-born midfielder led the team in Malta on Friday, where a 4-0 victory margin flattered an England side whose disappointing performance was booed by some travelling fans.

Yett with England knowing victory will take them to the brink of a place in next year's finals in Russia, Southgate wants his stars to raise their game for the occasion.

Victory would take Southgate's team five points clear of Slovakia with two games to play and he is hoping to see a vibrant England display.

He said there was "no point in changing" the captaincy, even though he has yet to appoint a fulltime skipper following Wayne Rooney's international retirement, so Henderson keeps the armband.

Southgate added: "It's a great opportunity for us, a home game.

"We are playing good opposition so we have to make sure we are tactically prepared, which we will be, but also we have to have belief in the team we have. We have exciting players and we want to show that.

"We know the task we have; we know the opportunity.

"The whole country wants to be at a World Cup.

"It's a great opportunity for the Wembley crowd to get behind us as well.

"We have a responsibility to get them on their feet but equally everywhere we go around the world the opposition crowds really give the team a lift.

"This result can virtually get us to Russia so everybody wants that and it would be great if we get the level of support I know that stadium can bring."

England needed a last-gasp Adam Lallana strike to beat Slovakia 1-0 in Trnava last year.

One year to the day since that match, since when Southgate has replaced Sam Allardyce as England boss, the teams will go head to head again in London. …

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