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England players want to work with Southgate for longer - Henderson

Jordan Henderson says England's players want to work with interim manager Gareth Southgate "for a long time."

Southgate answered a SOS from the Football Association after Sam Allardyce's unexpected and embarrassing exit two weeks ago and is already halfway into a four-game stint in charge.

Having started with a 2-0 win over a compliant Malta side at Wembley, Southgate's side were second best to Slovenia on Tuesday night and needed a string of superb saves from Joe Hart to leave Ljubljana with a goalless draw.

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The former Middlesbrough manager made a bold statement on the eve of that clash, dropping captain Wayne Rooney to the bench and handing the armband to Liverpool skipper Henderson.

Although England hardly flourished in Rooney's absence, it was a brave decision.

November's double-header against Scotland and Spain could determine whether he gets to implement it but Henderson was clear when asked if the dressing room supported his claim.

"Yeah, the players have got on really well with him this week," he said.

"We're close as a group and we've had meetings about what we want to do as a team. The manager has been brilliant with us so we need to put in the performances, not just for ourselves, but the fans and him and the coaching staff as well to make sure we keep working together for a long time.

Jordan Henderson England
Jordan Henderson was handed the captain's armband against Slovenia.

"He's spoken to the players as a group and individually as well and I think that has helped. We've worked well together as a group.

"He gives responsibility to players and he listens. It's been a good week. It would have been better with two wins, but we've got to take the positives: beating Malta and getting a good point from this game."

Henderson's affinity with Southgate is understandable, having turned in a man-of-the-match performance against Malta and then been promoted to the captaincy following Rooney's demotion.

The 26-year-old was proud to lead the side out in Ljubljana but was quick to point out that, like the current coach, his role was a temporary one.

When Rooney emerged from the bench in the 73rd minute, Henderson immediately handed him the armband and that deference continued off the field.

"It was just for this game," Henderson said of his captaincy.

"I think Wayne handled the whole thing brilliantly. Even at half-time he was trying to help the lads, telling us how he thought we could improve in the second half.

"He wished us all the best, but he's the one we all follow. He's the captain and one we all look up to. He's a world class player and experienced player and he's shown his class this week.

"I get on well with Wayne and he just said 'keep on doing what you have been doing' because that's why you've been given the role.'

"I was very proud but I'm a little but disappointed and frustrated with the game and that we didn't win."


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