Jordan Henderson insists people are ‘DELUSIONAL’ if they think England’s Euro 2020 quarter-final with Ukraine will be easy… and admits to being the ‘biggest party pooper’ after cutting short celebrations following Germany victory
Jordan Henderson has demanded Ukraine be afforded maximum respect and warned it would be ‘delusional’ to say England have cleared their biggest hurdle.
Liverpool’s captain could make his first start of the European Championship in Rome on Saturday night, with England favourites to reach their first semi-final since 1996. There is a wave of expectation but Henderson will not allow it to wash over him.
He is aware how the mood has been transformed by the 2-0 defeat of Germany but has made it clear to his team-mates that a tougher challenge now awaits.
Jordan Henderson demands England give Ukraine full respect in their Euro 2020 last-eight tie
The Liverpool captain (right) could be in line for his first start of the tournament on Saturday
‘Anyone who says it won’t be difficult is delusional really,’ said Henderson. ‘I know people say we’ve beaten Germany but you cannot underestimate the importance of this game and how hard it will be against them. We are fully aware of it.
‘It’s a totally different test and we need to make sure we are ready — not just physically but mentally as well. It’s a different challenge to Wembley with the crowd behind us. Maybe the atmosphere won’t be as good and there will be less fans but you have to try to create your own atmosphere.
‘I’m probably the biggest party pooper. You have to enjoy winning games and, in the dressing room, it was a nice feeling but after you walk out of the dressing room the focus has to be on the next game.’
Henderson says there was little room for celebration after England beat Germany on Tuesday
There was a moment on Tuesday, after Harry Kane had scored England’s second goal, when Henderson wrapped Gareth Southgate in a bear hug to celebrate and it encapsulated the feeling within the stadium.
If England beat Ukraine, the mood will be as it was during the run to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Henderson knows the euphoria can help Southgate’s squad.
‘You can see the excitement and joy that it brings to the nation when you win,’ said Henderson. ‘We could see that in Russia from afar when we were winning games and getting further through the tournament.
‘It is a little bit similar this time around but we can’t get carried away. Hopefully we can make the nation proud and come back with the win.’