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Henderson has no fear of hero Lampard
Published : 14 Jan 2010 10:07:31
JORDAN HENDERSON will line up against one of his heroes this weekend, but the Sunderland midfielder is determined to give Frank Lampard a tougher afternoon than he experienced when the pair last crossed horns at Stamford Bridge. Henderson made his senior debut when Sunderland were last at Chelsea, in November 2008. The teenager was a half-time substitute under former boss Roy Keane, and with the Black Cats losing by three goals at the time of his introduction, he was unable to prevent his side slipping to a 5-0 defeat. He still regards the experience as one of the most harrowing of his career, with Lampard exerting complete control over the midfield as he scored Chelsea's fourth goal shortly after the interval. In the intervening period, Henderson has developed into one of the most promising young midfielders in English football, and while he is relishing the opportunity to test himself against Lampard again, he is determined not to show his opponent too much respect. I can still remember my debut game really well, said Henderson. It's a great feeling to be on the same pitch as someone like Lampard, but I've learned that you cannot give people like that too much respect. You have to go out there and think you're as good as them, and you have to work hard and get in their face. I've really had no fear to go out and show people what I can do, and hopefully I can keep doing that and improving. Along with record signing Darren Bent, Henderson has been the success story of Sunderland's season so far, and the Wearsider attributes much of his progress to the arrival of boss Steve Bruce. Bruce identified him as a potential star from the moment he joined the Black Cats in the summer, and afforded Henderson a major role in the pre-season programme. Henderson has not looked back since and his progress has helped lessen the impact of Lee Cattermole's injury problems in the first half of the campaign. The manager has given me great confidence, said Henderson. He gives you a kick up the backside when you need it, and puts an arm around your shoulder when you need that as well. Henderson travelled to Portugal on Tuesday with his team-mates for warm-weather training ahead of Saturday's trip to Stamford Bridge. As well as overseeing training, Bruce, who has requested a personal hearing into the FA charge of misconduct that followed his comments about referee Andre Marriner in the wake of Sunderland's 4-3 defeat at Manchester City, has been trying to make headway with transfer plans. Bruce continues to field calls regarding a range of players, but sources on Wearside have played down suggestions he is ready to make a formal offer for Portsmouth defender Younes Kaboul. Meanwhile, midfielder Jean-Yves M'Voto has rejoined Southend United on loan. Sunderland's FA Cup fourthround game at Portsmouth has been confirmed for Saturday, January 23 (ko 3pm). Tickets are £25 adults, £15 over-65s and under-22s, and £5 under-16s, and are available to season- ticket holders until 5pm today. Any remaining tickets will go on general sale at 10am on Monday.