Emerging Pompey talent reveals Euro vision

Stephen Henderson
Stephen Henderson
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

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Stephen Henderson has set his sights on a Euro 2012 call-up for Ireland.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper has established himself as Pompey’s number one following his summer move from Bristol City.

And having edged ahead of Jamie Ashdown at Fratton Park, he is now equally determined to force his way into Giovanni Trapattoni’s plans in time for this summer’s championship in Poland and Ukraine.

While Henderson recently played down speculation he was a January transfer target for Newcastle, his consistent displays have caught the attention of rival clubs.

Cash-strapped Pompey may yet be forced to cash in on their assets.

Either way, the keeper is hopeful the national scouts have been tracking his progress.

Henderson said: ‘I’m desperate to get on that plane to Poland. I’m not going to lie.

‘I’ve no idea if I’ve been watched and I don’t really want to know to be honest.

‘It’s just another thing you have to worry about, so I would rather go without knowing.

‘But there’s no point in me saying “there’s no way I will get on the plane”. It is in my sights.

‘If I get a call-up, then brilliant. But if not, I will work to get a call-up to the next one.

‘You’ve got to set your goals as high as you can and if you don’t reach them, then fair enough.

‘If I can go from now until the end of the season and put in a really good shift, I will leave it up to the manager to make a decision. We’ll see.’

Shay Given remains the undisputed Irish number one, while Sunderland’s Kieren Westwood and Motherwell’s Darren Randolph were in the Irish squad that secured qualification via a play-off success against Estonia.

But Henderson believes there is an opening to challenge the 35-year-old Given as top dog.

He said: ‘Obviously Shay is the man – there’s no doubt about that.

‘I know I’m still young and I haven’t made an appearance yet but I see the keepers who are ahead of me and some aren’t playing.

‘I’ve been with Ireland under-15s, under-16s, under-17s, under-19s and under-21s, so I’m just missing one cap now!

‘I said from the start I wanted to get in the Pompey team and hopefully kick on with the international set-up, so why not?

‘I would be very proud for my family and for myself.

‘I love being Irish and I’m proud of where I’m from. It would be a massive thing for me.

‘I’ve still got time on my side, so hopefully one day.

‘I want to stand out and be the best I can be.’