Harry Kane‘s team-mates rallied round the England captain and tipped him to bounce back quickly after his crucial penalty miss against France.
The Tottenham talisman looked set to become his country’s all-time top goalscorer and pull England level with just minutes remaining in Saturday night’s thrilling World Cup quarter-final tie between old rivals at Al Bayt Stadium.
Kane had earlier outfoxed Spurs team-mate Hugo Lloris from the spot, sending him the wrong way with a typically emphatic effort. However, his second attempt at doing the same was blazed agonisingly over the crossbar.
It was a familiar story of penalty woe for England, with their captain having earlier equalled Wayne Rooney’s scoring record with his 53rd strike in senior international football.
The pain was etched all over Kane’s face after the miss and at the full-time whistle, with manager Gareth Southgate - himself no stranger to a costly penalty miss for England at a major tournament - immediately consoling his skipper after another heartbreaking exit was confirmed.
Speaking to ITV straight afterwards, a downbeat Henderson backed his team-mate to come back stronger from a crushing experience.
“We know how many penalties Harry has scored for us, how many goals he has contributed to even get us here,” he said. “He will be stronger for this in the future. He is a world-class striker and our captain, he will bounce back.”
His sentiments were echoed by Kyle Walker, who said: “It’s football. If there’s anyone that I would want to step up and take a penalty, it would be him.
“He scored the first one and things happen. We are a team. We win together, we lose together. He is our captain and he’s our captain for a reason.”
An emotional Henderson struggled to sum up a night when England were on top for large spells, created numerous chances and largely kept superstar Kylian Mbappe quiet, ultimately falling victim to a near-post Olivier Giroud header.
“It is hard now to sum it up, it is hard to find the right words,” he said.
“I thought we gave everything in the game, we were disappointed to go 1-0 down but we showed the character and mentality to keep going and find the equaliser.
“We gave it everything and unfortunately it wasn’t our night.
“We felt good, the performances were really good, the focus and hunger has been really good.
“But you have to give credit to France who are a good team. I still feel it was there for us to win tonight.”