Henderson hopes he can repeat Carrow Road feat

Jordan Henderson's first senior goal was a tough moment for most of those watching at Carrow Road – but another strike tonight will be a different matter entirely.

Sunderland's talented attacking midfielder spent the first part of 2009 on loan at Coventry City, where his first goal in professional football helped the Sky Blues to a 2-1 win and heaped more home misery on a Canaries side destined to finish their Championship campaign relegated.

Fast forward 18 months and the 20-year-old, a regular for the Black Cats in the Premier League this season, will be part of Stuart Pearce's England Under-21 side running out at Carrow Road tonight (7.30pm) for their European Championship play-off first leg with Romania.

The Young Lions are two games from making the finals in Denmark next summer – and Henderson hopes his Carrow Road run will continue.

'I scored my first goal there for Coventry, my first senior goal, so it's been a good stadium for me so far – it was a tap in, and I'd take another one of those,' said Henderson, who played alongside promising Norwich City goalkeeper Declan Rudd for England's Under-19 side.

'I actually roomed with him in the Under-19s too, so I know him and he's a nice lad. I don't know if he'll be there on Friday but I'm sure I'll see him around.

'It's been really good here so far, the pitches and stuff. A few of the lads from Norwich's youth team came in for training and did really well with us, which is a positive sign for them.

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'Our preparation has been ideal, we've trained really well all week, facilities have been fine, hotel's really good. We just need to go out on Friday and put a performance in.'

Last weekend Henderson was busy helping Sunderland earn a point off Manchester United – but there is arguably more at stake over the coming days, with the second leg of England's play-off on Tuesday, at the Stadionul Municipal, Botoani.

Pearce's England outfit reached the final of last year's tournament, where they were soundly beaten by a healthy proportion of the Germany side that went on to impress in this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

England will not want to follow going so close in 2009, with a qualification failure for 2011.

'This is really important; last week I think we (Sunderland) played really well, probably deserved to get a little bit more out of the game, but here and now is a different task for me and for the team, and I'm sure we've got enough talent to go and get a good result,' said Henderson.

'It's a really big task for us, really big game to take us into the Tuesday and hopefully getting into the championships. But there are really good players here and we'll do our best to get to Denmark.

'You just play the first leg as you would any game, just go out to win and whatever happens happens. If you're two or three up I think we'll be thinking a bit wisely, but you just go and play football and hopefully win the game.'

Henderson saved his last words for his current international boss, Pearce – someone tipped as a future replacement for senior manager Fabio Capello.

'He's one for the top, definitely,' said Henderson. 'He's someone all of us look up to. He's done it in the past when he was a player and he seems a really good manager as well and been really good since I've been here.

'He'll help you if he thinks that you need to work on something, he'll come and work with you and he's been really good with all the lads.

'He's still got an edge and I'm sure everyone looks up to him in terms of that fiery edge, but he's a man you can talk to as well.

'I think if anyone can take us through to the championships and possibly win it, it's him.'