13 June 2014 | News Comments

Henderson: England have no fear

Jordan Henderson thinks Italy will come up against a fearless England side on Saturday.

England begin their World Cup campaign in the jungle city of Manaus this weekend at the Arena Amazonia.

Only five players in the England squad have played in a World Cup before, whereas Italy's 23-man party contains experienced campaigners like Gianluigi Buffon, Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi.

But Henderson, himself only an international rookie with 11 caps, has been pleasantly surprised by how the likes of Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw have adapted to international football.

And the Liverpool midfielder insists England will play with no fear at this World Cup.

"You can see that a lot of the younger lads who are new on the scene have no fear," Henderson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Raheem Sterling, Ross Barkley and Luke Shaw have come into the squad, you can just see how fantastic they have been in training.

"And in matches they have shown exactly what they are about. They have shown no fear. That can only be a plus."

"You can see that a lot of the younger lads who are new on the scene have no fear" - Jordan Henderson

England were greeted by temperatures of 33 degrees Celsius when they touched down in Manaus on Thursday.

The temperature is expected to be the same on Saturday, and humidity levels are forecast to hit 60 per cent.

It is a significant increase in heat compared to the milder climes of Rio de Janeiro, where England are based, but Henderson thinks the team will be able to cope with the conditions thanks to their extensive preparation, which has included warm-weather camps in the Algarve and Florida.

"The heat is difficult but you have to try and not even think about it," the 23-year-old said.

"We have done adaptation training, either in chambers or warm weather training in Miami, Portugal and now in Brazil.

"Hopefully our bodies have adapted to it a little bit. You can see it is going to be hot but we have just to forget about that and concentrate on the game. I am sure we are fit enough for our bodies to deal with it."

All that preparation work is a thing of the past now.

The squad watched Brazil versus Croatia in their luxurious hotel in Manaus on Thursday night and the reality and excitement about what lies ahead finally started to sink in.

"Everybody watching the game could see how big the World Cup is," Henderson said.

"When Brazil scored fireworks were going off outside. The whole world is watching the World Cup. It just makes it even more exciting."

Last summer Henderson was way down the pecking order with England despite going to Euro 2012 the previous year.

He had just had a woeful year with Liverpool, who almost sold him to Fulham. To make matters worse, Alex Ferguson criticised Henderson's running style in a well-publicised chapter of his autobiography that did not go down well at Anfield.

But the former Sunderland man responded perfectly by having an excellent year at Anfield and he is now expected to start alongside Liverpool team-mate Steven Gerrard in central midfield against Italy.

"I feel I have improved over the course of the season and that is what I want to keep doing," he said.

"I will keep working hard and listening to the right people.

"Hopefully I can continue doing that and doing my best for England.

"I hope I have a key role to play (against Italy).

"If I do play I will make sure I give everything I have got."