Liverpool legend Phil Thompson insists Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling thoroughly deserve their inclusion in the England squad for the World Cup and has backed the pair to shine in Brazil.

The Reds duo were among five representatives from Anfield in Roy Hodgson's 23-man selection, with Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Daniel Sturridge also named in the group to travel to South America.

Former Three Lions international Thompson claims the impressive performances and attitude of Henderson and Sterling this season are shining examples for other young footballers to follow.

"It is absolutely brilliant to see Jordan and Raheem get the call-up," the 60-year-old told "Both players have had difficult times in the past and come through them with flying colours.

"Raheem started the season not in great form but he has come on and shown great tactical awareness to play in the Liverpool team, whether it be a 4-2-3-1 formation, a diamond system or playing out on the wing. He has been one of the focal points of our challenge for the title.

"Jordan has been a fantastic story for any young man. He has had difficult times, we didn't know where he would fit into the side, and he has come through it all and he never once complained - I think that is the measure of the man.

"He has been an absolute true gent through all of this and his performances have been absolutely first-class; he has turned everybody around - the Liverpool fans and away supporters too. Full credit to him and he fully deserves this call-up for the World Cup."

Henderson missed three vital games in the Reds' Barclays Premier League title run-in following his sending-off against Manchester City, and Thompson believes his energy and presence in the midfield was missed.

He added: "Jordan brings something special to the team. He is a good footballer and a very intelligent player. What he does is make good forward runs and he has brought that into his game this season.

"He also makes things happen. He sets patterns, he closes people down, he has high energy levels on the pitch all of the time, which is what Brendan Rodgers requires, especially in the diamond formation.

"He sets patterns on the pitch, which has been absolutely one of the vital ingredients in this Liverpool team."

Jon Flanagan's displays during 2013-14 were rewarded with a place on England's seven-man standby list, and Thompson has been suitably impressed with the young Scouser's contribution.

"Jon has had a fantastic season," he reflected. "Whether he is asked to play at left-back or right-back, it doesn't seem to faze Jon, and what I like about him is he knows his limitations as well.

"He gets up and down the line and supports well. He knows how far he can go and he knows his qualities as a defender - which is very good.

"Like Jordan, he sets patterns. He has still got a lot to do has young Jon, but he reminds me so much of Joey Jones, who the fans loved at Liverpool. Everybody appreciated the impact Joey had in the team and Jon has done the same."