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Jordan Henderson: England do not fear Germany with past heartache not weighing heavy on young Euros squad

·3-min read
Jordan Henderson: England do not fear Germany with past heartache not weighing heavy on young Euros squad
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jordan Henderson has insisted England will go into their Euro 2020 knockout against Germany with “no fear”, saying their young squad will not feel the weight of history at Wembley.

The build-up to Tuesday’s last-16 clash will be coloured by the Three Lions previous major tournament defeats to Germany in 1990, 1996 and 2010, which remain a scar on the English psyche.

But, under Gareth Southgate, England have taken positives steps towards banishing other hoodoos. In the World Cup three years ago, the Three Lions reached a first semi-final and won a first penalty shootout since Euro ‘96.

Henderson says England’s mentality has improved and insists they have nothing to fear from Germany.

“The mentality has changed over the last few years in a positive way with what we’ve experienced as a team, maybe we can use that on Tuesday,” the Liverpool captain said. “For us as players, we don’t really tend to think too much about the history – it’s about the here and now.

“We’re focusing on the challenge ahead; what Germany are good at, the areas we can exploit, what we can do to hurt them, all of the things we can actually focus on and then do in the game. That’s all our energy goes into. We don’t get too caught up on the history and what has happened previously.”

England have the second-youngest squad at the tournament and Southgate has previously said his players are not weighed down by the “baggage of failure”.

Henderson continued: “We’ve got quite a young squad but I think that can be a positive thing. A lot of these lads just go out and play, enjoy the game, play with no fear. And that’s what they need to do again on Tuesday. Go and enjoy it, go and show everybody how good they are.

“Use the emotion and passion in the right way to give you energy for the game, because that can be the difference really. As an experienced player, I can help with that and make sure we’re in the right frame of mind going into the game and make sure training’s at the left it needs to be over the next few days to prepare for that one.

“Everybody’s confident, everybody’s feeling good and we’ve got a good few days to prepare for a huge game. But a lot of the lads have played in huge games already: Champions League finals, Champions League games, cup finals, big games for England.

“They’re used to big games even though they’re young and I’m sure they’re looking forward to this one.”

Germany were minutes from crashing out at the group stage for the second major tournament running on Wednesday night, enduring an unconvincing group stage which saw them lose to France, beat Portugal and draw with Hungary.

“We still give them a lot of respect, they are still a top, top team with world-class players and it will be a tough game for us, but we are in the knockout stage of the Euros so it is always going to be tough,” Henderson said.

“All the lads will be really excited about a really big game to see where we are as a team and where we can get to because we have been going really well over the last few years, progressing as a team.

“Over the last few games we’ve been good defensively and very solid and would have liked to have scored a few more goals but we have been winning games, keeping clean sheets and topped the group so there is still a lot of positivity and we need to take that into Tuesday.”

 (Press Association Images)
(Press Association Images)

Henderson revealed he had already been texted by his German Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

“As soon as the final whistle went he just sent a smiley face emoji,” Henderson said.

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