Henderson gets Irish call

Stephen Henderson
Stephen Henderson
Pompey midfielder Ben Close Picture: Joe Pepler

Close is free from injury and full of Pompey ambition

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Stephen Henderson has been drafted into the Republic of Ireland squad for the first time.

The Pompey goalkeeper got the call from the Irish for tomorrow’s friendly clash with the Czech Republic after Sunderland keeper Keiren Westwood was ruled out with a wrist injury.

Henderson, who has represented the Republic throughout the age groups, recently outlined his desire to break into manager Giovanni Trapattoni’s plans ahead of the Euro 2012 finals this summer.

The 23-year-old linked up with the rest of the squad today, fresh from a fine display for Pompey at the weekend, with Aston Villa’s Shay Given and Millwall’s David Forde occupying the other two goalkeeper’s positions.

Henderson ousted Jamie Ashdown as Pompey number one back in October after his summer move from Bristol City.

And while he may struggle to make his debut in the Dublin showdown after his late call-up, it does at least give Henderson encouragement that he is in the Republic’s future plans.