Jordan Henderson: England can use World Cup as 'fuel' for greater things

Jordan Henderson poses for a photo with a young England fan
Jordan Henderson played in five of England's World Cup matches in Russia in the summer
Uefa Nations League: England v Spain
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Saturday, 8 September Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 live and the BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app, plus live text commentary.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson says England players can use this summer's World Cup semi-final defeat by Croatia as "fuel" to go on to greater things.

Liverpool's captain, 28, was a key player in Russia as the Three Lions reached the last four of the tournament for the first time since losing on penalties to West Germany at Italia 90.

"We had the belief we could achieve something really special and go even further," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"So we can use that and go forward."

England face Spain in the Uefa Nations League at Wembley on Saturday (19:45 BST kick-off) in their first game since the World Cup, before a friendly against Switzerland at Leicester's King Power Stadium on Tuesday (20:00).

While England failed to progress to their first World Cup final since winning on home soil in 1966, Gareth Southgate's side were praised for their approach.

The squad in Russia had an average age of 26 - the third youngest at the tournament - but went on to achieve the Three Lions' best result since reaching the last four of Euro 96.

Henderson, who has 44 caps, wants the players to "use that as fuel to be better and want to be the best", adding that "the nation fell back in love with England" over the summer.

"We have a lot of young players in the squad and we can learn from that experience in a positive way.

"That experience will never be forgotten - for me personally and the rest of the lads.

"It's very powerful when you have a nation right behind you like we did in Russia.

"It's up to us to keep that going and keep putting those good performances in. I'm sure if we do that we will keep growing and hopefully we can achieve something special very soon."

Southgate the alchemist

Meanwhile, another England midfielder, Fabian Delph, credits manager Southgate for creating that positivity and generating "the chemistry and energy" he experiences at club level with Premier League champions Manchester City on the international stage.

Delph, 28, says the England boss helped to bring about the feeling of "a lads' holiday" in Russia.

"It was just absolutely fantastic, but when we were on the pitch we mixed it up - it was very serious, we had our gameplans," he said.

"The energy here is the same [as at City] - if not better. Gareth is a brilliant man-manager. He knows how to get the best out of the players. He has a system he likes to play and he has got the players playing where he wants.

"When you are starting off like that you are already ticking one box. With the boys being so young and still developing, I can definitely see nothing but improvement in the team.

"Pulling together in difficult situations, getting over the line in difficult games - it's all going to have to come. We will have to go through that.

"I'm definitely confident in the future."

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