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Hendrick: I spent my holidays staying in shape for possible Ireland call

AS DOZENS of fellow footballers pollute the internet by tweeting photographs of bikini babes and cocktails from their summer holidays, Derby County man Jeff Hendrick has been using his time off from club duties to another end.

The 21-year-old has effectively been on holiday for over three weeks, since the end of Derby's season in the Championship, but instead of cruising the beaches of Spain or the bars of Las Vegas, Hendrick has been pounding the streets and the treadmill in his native city, making sure he remained fit if and when he gets the Irish call.

 

Debut

Hendrick, who made his senior international debut against Poland in February, will not start against England at Wembley tonight as the Premier League duo of Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy got the nod in central midfield. But Giovanni Trapattoni is a big fan of the Derby player and with competing players like Paul Green, Darron Gibson and Keith Fahey all missing for various reasons, Hendrick could be sprung off the bench to face up to England – and he insists he will be ready for duty.

"I had a couple of weeks off, but I was working away on my fitness when I had the time off, I wanted to stay in shape. Once I knew I was in the Ireland squad, I was determined to keep up, I didn't want to turn up for Ireland duty in bad shape," Hendrick told the Herald.

"I was working away back home. My brother, Kevin, and his mate have their own personal training business, Spartan Strength and Conditioning in Artane, so I was working with them, doing runs and other bits and pieces. I know I need to rest my body as well after a hard season, but I needed to try and stay in shape as well.

"It's great to be in the squad again. I keep saying this, but I just want to be in as many squads as I can and if I get some game time, it's a bonus. I'd be happy with any sort of role against the English," added Hendrick.

"I'd be hopeful of getting game time, that's all I can hope for. I didn't play in the last couple of matches, but hopefully this time he will give me a chance at some stage and give me a run-out."

 

Experience

A clash with England is a new experience for the Dubliner. "I was only two or three when the last game was played in '95, so I don't remember that one and I have never played against England at any level before, so it's a big deal for me. This was a big occasion for me, just being in the Irish squad, but to be involved for an Ireland-England game at Wembley would be great.

"It would be the biggest game of my career in terms of crowd. We have had crowds of 30,000 for Derby games and there was a big gate there for the Poland game with Ireland, but to play in front of 80,000 would be amazing.

"There are no nerves now, we'll see how we are fixed on the night when we walk out into the stadium. You have to try to be confident in your own ability and do the best you can," he said.

A look through the two squads for the game underlines the standard of players available to each manager – 12 Championship players in the original Irish squad, with all-Premiership players in the England camp.

"They have lots of big names from the Premier League's top clubs and we have lots of lads from the Championship, but we don't fear them in any way," said Hendrick.

"They will give 100 per cent in every game they play, but England is even more intense."


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