Henderson intrigued by Israel challenge

England midfielder Jordan Henderson told UEFA.com he is excited to see what 2013 finals hosts Israel "are made of" after captaining Stuart Pearce's side to a 6-0 defeat of Azerbaijan in Group 8.

Jordan Henderson wore the captain's armband for England against Azerbaijan
Jordan Henderson wore the captain's armband for England against Azerbaijan ©Getty Images

Fresh from helping England post an impressive 6-0 defeat of Azerbaijan in their qualifying Group 8 curtain-raiser, midfielder Jordan Henderson told UEFA.com he is looking forward to seeing what 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship hosts Israel "are made of" when the two sides meet in a friendly on Monday evening.

Israel failed to qualify for the final tournament in Denmark this summer, denied a play-off spot by Sweden, but Henderson knows they will provide a stern test with Tzion Tzema and Manchester City FC's Gai Assulin among Guy Luzon's most experienced squad members.

"We'll watch some videos and have a look at them before we play, but then we'll see what they're made of on Monday," said the 21-year-old. "At the moment, we've just got to worry about ourselves, gelling together, working as a team and getting another good result. I'm sure they'll be a tough team to play like any side in these championships, but hopefully we can put in another performance like we did against Azerbaijan."

Having featured 11 times at U21 level, Henderson is one of the more experienced campaigners in Stuart Pearce's squad and was handed the captain's armband against Azerbaijan on Thursday, a responsibility he welcomed. "It was great to captain the side," said Henderson, who also has one senior international cap to his name.

"There's no pressure on me really; there are a few players that are senior at this level now and it's just important for us 'seniors' to welcome the younger lads up through and to help them and to gel on the pitch. When we are on the pitch everyone is equal and everyone's talking and that's the main thing."

With Henderson, Jack Rodwell and Henri Lansbury all rotating in a dynamic and experienced midfield against Azerbaijan, the Liverpool FC player believes England will only go from strength to strength as they pursue a fourth consecutive final tournament appearance at this level.

"It was a good start; we kept the ball well at times, defended very well and punished them when we got our chance," he said. "Obviously there's a few things we want to work on and build on, but it was a really good start from us and hopefully we can kick on from here."

After their friendly on Monday, England return to qualifying action away against Iceland on 6 October, while Israel are guaranteed a place at the 2013 final tournament as hosts.