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As one of England's most experienced hands at Under-21 level, Jordan Henderson was part of the side that failed to get out of the group stage in the finals in Denmark two years ago. Now back as captain, the Liverpool FC midfielder says the consistency of Stuart Pearce's team since 2011 will stand them in good stead at this summer's tournament in Israel.
England won nine of their ten games en route to the forthcoming UEFA European Under-21 Championship, yet it is a sign of just how well-rounded Henderson considers this England squad that he told UEFA.com he was "a little bit disappointed we didn't make it ten out of ten". The 22-year-old added: "Obviously it was good going – we've done the job and qualified, so that's the main thing. In the majority of games we looked very good. We've scored some good goals and also defended really well, which is pleasing."
Henderson suggests there is a fine line between success and failure at these highly competitive tournaments – involving the eight best sides in Europe for their age group – and that the Denmark campaign could have panned out differently. "I think we maybe didn't do as well as we thought. We had a really good team, a lot of quality again, and we had a real belief that we were going to win the competition. It just wasn't our year. I don't think we did anything wrong, but in an attacking sense we could have been a little bit better in getting a few more goals."
Made U21 skipper by Pearce, Henderson has already made the step up to the seniors, featuring at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. "Yes, that was another brilliant experience for me. It was great to go into the senior squad and to a big tournament like that. I managed to play a part, so yes, I learned a lot from the trip." Israel, and an opening Group A game against Italy, is his focus now. "I think we've played good football, scored good goals and defended really well at the same time. If we can take that into the summer then we've got a really good chance."
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