Jordan Henderson is in line to win his 50th international cap on Monday – but the Liverpool and England midfielder will not bask in the landmark achievement.
Reds captain Henderson could reach his half-century in Gareth Southgate’s side’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro, three days on from making his 49th senior appearance for his country in a 5-0 win over Czech Republic at Wembley.
Recalling his England debut, which came in November 2010, ahead of the match in Podgorica, Henderson said: “I can remember there were a lot of experienced and top players in the team and the squad.
“I was delighted to make my debut but I came off thinking I’ve got a long way to go if I want to stay at this level.
“It gave me a taste for it, to want to improve and get better, to make sure I could go back and perform regularly for England. If I play, it will be nice to get to 50 caps but it is not something I will think about now. Maybe I will do it at the end of my career.”
An endless drive towards self-improvement has been key to Henderson’s longevity at the top level for club and country, he believes.
“Football always changes. There are always new players coming in at your club, or young players coming through with your club or England,” the 28-year-old continued.
“You have to be ready, given 100 per cent, improve and get better.
“At Liverpool and England, it’s about moving forward and going in the right direction and you don’t want to be left behind, by any means. I want to improve every season, every training session. I’ll continue that until I finish my career.
“My role has changed within the Liverpool team. I’ve adapted and improved. I can do that [holding] role, but prior to that I was a more offensive, box to box. I can do both roles.
“I can contribute in the final third a lot more than I did. But I can do the defensive role, the No. 6 role, and be disciplined and protect. It’s about what the manager asks me to do. That’s what I focus on. I enjoyed the other night.”