Henderson admits soft spot for United

Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson has placed Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson on red alert after revealing that he supported the Red Devils as a child.

He told The Guardian: "When I was little my heroes were David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane."

"I’ve always liked the way Manchester United play the game."

This will fuel recent rumours which claim that 20-year-old Henderson is set to arrive at Old Trafford in January, after Ferguson informed Sunderland that he is keeping tabs on the young Englishman.

The Black Cats' boss, Steve Bruce, has already spoken out in regards to Manchester United’s interest, and has duly noted his concern about the possibility of losing one of his prize assets.

"Only once has Fergie talked about one of my players, and that was [Antonio] Valencia, and bugger me he bought him!" he said in the News of the World.

"He had spoken to me about him.  'Keep me informed' were his words, then he signed him.

"He has said the same about Jordan, but to be fair they have all asked to be kept informed.”

However, Bruce was also quick to praise his starlet who came up through the youth ranks at Sunderland.

"What has caught most of their eyes is his ability to get up and down the pitch now is huge. You looked at Steven Gerrard, Ashley Cole and Cesc Fabregas, they are all great players but they can get up and down the pitch to get the mileage, and you need that in the modern game.

"He has caught the eye because he is a very good player. If you are Chelsea, Manchester United, or Liverpool, there is a 20-year-old who is playing in the Premier League week in, week out. There are not many you can look at.

"He is a Sunderland player, and a Sunderland lad and we will do our utmost to keep him but we can never stop speculation.

"He has huge respect for this football club and he will do the right thing. Jordan has a good grounding."

Henderson this week has been rewarded for his impressive performances with his first England call-up from Fabio Capello.

He is expected to start in the friendly against France on Wednesday and make his full debut for the national side. 

By Elliott Binks