Starlet backed for a call
JORDAN HENDERSON'S performances in the heart of Sunderland's midfield should earn him an international call-up according to teammate and former England Under-21 striker Fraizer Campbell. Darren Bent aims to impress Fabio Capello against Brazil at senior level this weekend and Henderson has been backed to be offered an opportunity to shine for England's junior side. Stuart Pearce's team are in European Championship qualifying action against Portugal on Saturday as part of their bid to reach the 2011 tournament in Denmark. And Campbell, who netted four times in 14 appearances for the Under-21s, believes that Henderson's ability to plug the gap left by the injured Lee Cattermole deserves to be acknowledged at international level. Henderson has made one appearance for England's Under-19 side and Campbell has called on Pearce to offer his club-mate a chance to make the next step on the international ladder. Jordan definitely has to be in with a shout of playing for the Under-21s,'' he admitted. He's been playing Premier League football regularly in the last few weeks, and there aren't too many teenagers who can say that. He's been doing really well for us, so I can't really understand why he hasn't had the call up yet. I'm sure it's only a matter of time though because I'm sure the England coaching staff are aware of him and watching him. He's only 19, so I'm sure his time will come. Henderson faces competition from the likes of Bolton Wanderers' Fabrice Muamba, Fabian Delph from Aston Villa and Manchester City youngster Michael Johnson for a place in Pearce's team. Ironically, Cattermole's absence until the New Year could boost Henderson's international ambitions. Steve Bruce has admitted that Cattermole's lay-off has left a huge gap in his squad but concerns it would fatally weaken Sunderland's midfield have been allayed by Henderson's impressive form in recent weeks. With Lorik Cana suspended from last Saturday's defeat at White Hart Lane, Campbell noted the Fencehouse-born midfielder's ability to step into the breach. There was a lot of pressure put on his shoulders because Lorik and Lee were missing, but I thought he handled that well,'' said Campbell. He was the only real central midfielder that we had, but I thought he produced a really mature performance. I'm sure that his England call will come. Campbell played in a right wing berth at Tottenham and admitted: That's a job I think I'm capable of doing, but it would obviously be nice to be playing up front in the Arsenal game. I'd like to be up there partnering Darren, but if the manager decides he wants me to play on the right of midfield again, that will obviously be okay. Sunderland's fixtures at Everton and at home to Stoke City have been selected as televised games. The Black Cats will be in front of the Sky Sports cameras when they travel to Goodison Park for an 8pm start on Wednesday, January 27. Their home encounter against Stoke City has now been rescheduled for live coverage on ESPN at 8pm on Monday, February 1. The Stoke switch, however, is dependent on any potential FA Cup fourth round replay.
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