Jordan Henderson deserves a starting place in Roy Hodgson's midfield when England kick off their World Cup campaign against Italy next weekend, according to former Red John Barnes.

The 23-year-old was a central component of Liverpool's second-place finish in the Barclays Premier League last season, providing energy, drive and incessant work-rate in every single match.

Kopites were enthralled by his progress, evolving into a trusted lieutenant under Brendan Rodgers, and his performances were rewarded with a spot in the Three Lions' squad for Brazil this summer.

As England prepare for their final warm-up match, against Honduras on Saturday night, Henderson is a leading contender to be stationed alongside Steven Gerrard in Hodgson's midfield.

Barnes echoes such a sentiment. "He is one who can work hard, defend and he's strong," the 50-year-old commented. "That's what Roy likes.

"Brendan Rodgers has to take a lot of credit for Jordan's development. It's the same with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge. You can see how they have benefited from working with him.

"But, of course, Jordan is playing for England rather than Liverpool. Will he be able to play the same way for England? We don't know. But with his energy, I think he could be very important in Brazil."

Barnes, who represented England at the 1986 and 1990 editions of the World Cup, confessed that he did not expect the extent of Henderson's development during the past two campaigns.

He continued: "I must admit, I didn't see this potential in him. I didn't see much of him at Sunderland and then he struggled in that first season at Liverpool, and you can only go on what you've seen.

"That's why he has to take so much credit for the way he has turned his career around. I've met Jordan and I know what a hard-working and humble guy he is. I'm glad for him.

"England could end up benefiting from Brendan's work in terms of the belief the players will have in themselves after such a great season for Liverpool."