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Apr 9, 2013

Henderson not fearing burnout

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson insists he will avoid burnout despite facing an international tournament for the third successive summer.

Henderson is set to captain the England Under-21 side at the European Championship in Israel in June.

The 22-year-old – who is eligible for the finals because he turned 21 during 2011, when the qualifiers began – has become a regular at summer tournaments. He played for Stuart Pearce's Under-21 side at the last European Championship in Denmark two years ago, and was a late call up for Roy Hodgson's senior squad at Euro 2012 as a replacement for injured Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard.

Henderson is likely to have only a couple of days' break following Liverpool's final Premier League game, at home to QPR on May 19, before joining up with the Under-21s. England, who have been drawn in Group A at the eight-team finals, will kick off against Italy on June 5, before facing Norway three days later and hosts Israel on June 11.

The top two teams from the group will go into the semi-finals on June 15, three days before the final in Jerusalem.

Liverpool's pre-season tour of Indonesia and Australia is set to begin in mid-July, which would give Henderson little recovery time. However, manager Brendan Rodgers has the option to give players on international duty an extended break, and Henderson insists he will be able to cope with his extra international workload.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "The maximum number of games you can play is five if you win the tournament, so it's not a great deal of football, to be honest. It will be hard in the heat and the intensity of the games but think I'll be fine for the season."

Henderson feels he has become a better player after a slow start to life at Anfield following his £16 million move from Sunderland in 2011.

He added: "I've improved a lot since I came to the club, which is one of the main reasons I joined. I knew it would help me improve as a player and I think I've improved as a person as well on and off the pitch. I've just got to keep doing that and keep working hard on the training pitch and off it."

Meanwhile, the midfielder has taken to Twitter to dismiss any suggestion that he is a fan of Justin Bieber. Henderson was spotted watching the Canadian pop star at a Liverpool Echo Arena concert in February.

During a question and answer session run by the club's Twitter account on Tuesday morning, a Liverpool fan asked Henderson if he was a "Belieber".

He responded: "Obviously not! I took my little sister. I know it's an excuse but she wanted to go for her birthday so I said I would take her. He has got a few good songs but I tend to keep that on the quiet."

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