Complacency not an issue for England against Senegal in World Cup 2022 tie, insists Jordan Henderson

Complacency not an issue for England against Senegal in World Cup 2022 tie, insists Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson insists there is no danger of England underestimating Senegal in this weekend's World Cup last-16 tie.

Gareth Southgate's side will set up a quarter-final against France if they win on Sunday night and Les Bleus beat Australia in the earlier kick-off.

While many fans are already looking ahead to a potential match-up with the holders, Henderson says he does not care who England could meet in the last eight and has warned that Senegal are a dangerous opponent - even without his injured former Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane.

“Honestly I don’t want to sound boring but I don’t care who we could get in the quarter-finals, it's all about Senegal, the round of 16 and hopefully we are still here next week and we can talk about the next round,” Henderson said. "But until then we are 100 per cent focussed on Senegal.

“I don’t think that [underestimating them] will be a danger for us as a team.

“We know any World Cup game, whether group stage, qualifiers, knockout stages like we are in now, it will be a really tough, especially against a team who are African champions and are a very, very good team in their own right.

“Yes, we can say they are missing Sadio Mane, who is a huge player for them, and an amazing player for any team really, but they got into the knockout stages without him, and they will be feeling confident and good.

“They are used to winning. They will be a really, really dangerous side for us to play. For us to progress we need to be at 100 per cent, give absolutely everything, and be really good with the ball, and really good without the ball, and if we are, and the energy and intensity levels are bright we have a good chance of winning.”

Henderson is playing at his third World Cup, and was part of the squad which reached the semi-final in Russia four years and suffered an agonising defeat on penalties against Italy in the final of last summer's European Championship.

The 32-year-old says the England squad is closer for their near misses and that they are motivated by a desire to “put things right” in Qatar this winter.

“I’d say the togetherness of this group is the closest it’s been," said the Liverpool captain. “I thought Russia was close at the time but we’ve been through things together in Russia, been through the Euros, and experiences like that do make you stronger.

“When you got through experiences together, especially good ones, but at the end not what you wanted and can really hurt, and we have suffered a little bit of that over the last few tournaments for sure, and that can make you really stronger as a team. It makes you come closer together, and want to put things right.

“For me personally I feel the defeats always stay. I can always remember the defeats more than the wins. The defeats hurt the most. They are the ones that stick with us, me personally, a lot. That’s the part where you want to change things and pout them right but you never get rid of that feeling. That’s happened at Liverpool and also England now, that deny is always with us now.”

Wales v England FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | Group B Match | 29th November 2022

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Henderson is in contention to start against the Senegalese after impressing in England's final group game against Wales, but Liverpool teammate Trent Alexander-Arnold has told Standard Sport that the midfielder is still “criminally underrated”.

Asked if he agreed, Henderson said: "The only opinion that matters is my team-mates and my manager, what they want me to do.

“But my team-mates are most important because they know what I bring to the team. They know I’ll give absolutely everything for Liverpool or England, to not only perform to my levels but to help others around me. I’ve tried to do that for a long time. That’s all I ever try to do.”