Hendo wants Cats to push on

BY foxsports • November 20, 2010

The 20-year-old spent last Sunday afternoon helping the Black Cats to a remarkable 3-0 Premier League victory over leaders Chelsea, and then headed off to prepare for his senior England debut. It proved a difficult baptism for Henderson as Fabio Capello's much-changed side was beaten 2-1 by France at Wembley, but it represented another significant step on the career ladder of a young man who many observers believe has a bright future. The Sunderland-born youngster's success to date is in part due to his level-headed approach to what he does for a living, and he will head into Monday's league clash with Everton at the Stadium of Light knowing neither he nor his team-mates can take anything for granted. While the win at Stamford Bridge was as deserved as it was unexpected - the Wearsiders had lost 5-0 and 7-2 on their previous two visits - Henderson is well aware that it will count for little if they do not maintain the standards they set last weekend. He said: "We have proved teams can win at Stamford Bridge. "They had some big players out, but that didn't matter. You can only beat what's in front of you. "The win will give us great confidence to push on for the season. Anyone can beat anyone on the day, it's just how you play. "It's too early to say where we can finish. We need to keep pushing on, keep progressing, but we could finish pretty high up. "We have got enough talent and character in the team to go on and do well." Henderson's progress has been big news in the north-east ever since he made the most of Bruce's decision to elevate him to the first-team squad shortly after his arrival at the club. Roy Keane had handed him his senior debut in November 2008 - coincidentally, in that 5-0 defeat at Chelsea - but it was during a loan spell at Coventry later that season that he emerged as a genuine prospect. Bruce's attention was drawn to the then teenager by the number of calls he was receiving from Championship managers asking to take him on loan, and it did not take him long to realise he had a hot property on his hands once he saw him in action on the training pitch. Henderson's form was one of the bright spots for the club last season, and international recognition at Under-21 and then senior level have increased his profile to a wider audience. However, for the moment at least, he still enjoys relative anonymity even in his home city. Henderson said: "You get noticed a little bit, but that's okay. I don't really mind that. "I don't get noticed a lot. Darren Bent and people like that get noticed a lot more than I do. I don't mind it." For all that he shuns the celebrity lifestyle, Henderson insists the image some people have of his fellow professionals is not always fair. He said: "People have different impressions of footballers with flash cars, but that doesn't mean they are any different to anybody else - they are still human." Interviewed by the national media ahead of his England debut, Henderson spoke of the influence his parents have had on his career and his determination to do everything he can to ensure he makes the most of the talent he has been given. He said: "There was no real back-up plan, to be honest. I was a little bit fortunate to become a player. "My mam said, 'What will you do?', but I would say, 'This is all I want to do'."