Liverpool midfielder and England Under-21 captain Jordan Henderson heaped praise on the hospitality him and his team-mates received at the Proact Stadium, after Stuart Pearce's young lions beat their Norwegian counterparts 1-0 on Monday evening. The Spireites' international connection continued over a year after they hosted England u19s - when they suffered a 1-0 friendly defeat to Germany - and the England skipper was pleased with his side's night's work.
Sunderland striker Connor Wickham scored the only goal of the game two minutes before the break to book England's place in Pot A of the Under-21 European Championship 2013 play-off draw as Group 8 winners. Speaking to both Spireites Player and Norwegian television after the full-time whistle, Henderson said: "We're over the moon to win 1-0 and keep a clean sheet, I think that was really important.
"We were under the cosh a bit at times during the game, but I think we showed our resilience. We won the game overall, so I think we've got to be happy. It was tough out there. They moved the ball and made us run about for a bit. But like I say, we kept a clean sheet, scored the goal so they're the two most important things for us."
The 22-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise to international football after having broke through the ranks at hometown club Sunderland. After making 10 appearances on loan at Coventry City, Henderson established himself as a Premier League regular at the Stadium of Light going on to make an impressive 71 appearances on Tyneside, scoring four goals.
His performances attracted the attentions of Liverpool and in 2011, he moved to Anfield for a staggering fee rising to up to £20million. He made his debut for the Reds against his former club, before opening his account for the Merseysiders against Bolton Wanderers. Henderson has also represented his national side since the under-19s and made his senior bow in 2010 against France.
He was also named as part of Roy Hodgson's squad for Euro 2012, coming off the bench against Les Bleus in the Three Lions first Group D game before featuring against Italy in the quarter-finals, where England once again suffered penalty heartbreak. But after having captained his country last night, Henderson revealed he is happy to play his part for both the Under-21s and senior squads.
"It is a bit different, but I enjoy doing both," he added. "Tonight was no different, I like to lead the lads out. They're both great experiences and ones that I hope I can keep on doing. The pitch was nice, good crowd, so it's more than what we could ask for really. It's a good ground, the facilities are good. Like I said the pitch is good and the crowd were brilliant so I think that made for a really good atmosphere."