Jordan Henderson believes working alongside Steven Gerrard on a daily basis has been an influential factor in his return to the England fold.
The 23-year-old was recalled last week to the Three Lions squad for the forthcoming games with Chile and Germany after an outstanding start to the season with Liverpool.
It’s the first time Henderson has been selected for his country since in almost 18 months — and he said he returns an improved player, thanks to Gerrard.
“I think I have improved since last time,” he said. “Stevie helps me develop all the time in training and off the pitch. And when you play with him, you learn a lot.
“It’s a massive boost to be picked. I’m delighted to go there, but I need to make sure I work hard and do what I’ve been doing with Liverpool.”
Henderson has made an impressive opening to 2013-14 with Liverpool, starting every Barclays Premier League game so far.
With the FIFA World Cup finals looming next summer, the Reds’ No. 14 is eager to strengthen his claims for a ticket to Brazil next summer.
“It is up for grabs for anyone,” Henderson said. “If you are doing well and your team is doing well then people will be looking at you. But you have to take the chance.
“Now I have the opportunity to go and train with England and I have to make sure I am right.
“I think I have improved definitely over the last few years. I have to keep doing that and keep improving as time goes on.”
“I’m delighted to be back in the squad,” he added.
“It’s a massive boost and I’m delighted to be going there, but when I am there I need to make sure that I am working hard and keep doing what I have been doing here and do the best I can and make sure I am getting picked again.”
Henderson’s last England appearance came as a substitute in the Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy.
He said it was a great show of faith in his ability by the national team boss, Roy Hodgson.
“It was brilliant that he could turn to me and put me on at that stage of a game like that,” he said. “It is good that he believed that I could go and do a job for the team and I feel like I have improved since then and hopefully I can keep going and put in some good performances.
“I came on in extra time when Scotty Parker was getting a bit tired and I just tried to come on and give the team some legs in the middle of the park. We got beat on penalties which was disappointing.”
Henderson captained England U-21s at the European Championships in the summer, but was no longer eligible to figure for the Young Lions following the tournament.
He concedes he hasn’t been a fan of the international breaks.
“You get a few days off but I didn’t really enjoy watching it on the TV seeing the U-21s and the seniors play,” Henderson concluded. “I was a little bit disappointed that I had a couple of days off.
“I was used to being away with the U-21s, but I have to make sure that when I join up I ensure I deserve to be there so that I can be picked again.
“I watched England against Poland and thought they were brilliant. It makes you more determined to be involved.”