Steven Gerrard has revealed what he told Henderson after Croatia loss – it was spot on

For all their heroics, England are officially out of the World Cup.

The nation came together for their crunch semi-final against Croatia and had to pinch themselves when Kieran Trippier fired the Three Lions into the lead after just five minutes.

It wasn’t to be, though, with Ivan Perisic forcing extra-time and Mario Mandzukic eventually delivering the hammer blower with just over 10 minutes to play.

On the one hand, supporters can look back on the tournament as a brilliant achievement and carry a great sense of pride in Gareth Southgate’s men completely exceeding expectations.

On the other hand, England have missed arguably their greatest opportunity to make a World Cup final with everything seeming to fall in place with the knockout draw.

The players can certainly hold their heads high, though, and few more than Jordan Henderson.

Regularly criticised and underrated by supporters, Henderson was one of England’s best performers in Russia and was a rock in midfield throughout the competition.

It’s fair to say he converted many of the doubters and rewarded those who had always believed in him.

Former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard fits into the latter category and he spoke about Henderson after the Croatia defeat with true class.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, he noted: “I’ve been one of his defenders over the last couple of years when he’s had his critics about because I know the player and I know the person.

“I spoke to him last night after the game and I said to him: ‘Look. I know you’ll be hurting right now but you should come back into the country with your head held high.’

“His time will come. He’s getting so, so close to one of these trophies and a big success in his career, and it will be making of him and people will realise the player and the leader he is.

“He has absolutely emptied the tank for both England and Liverpool this year.

“He ran out of steam a little bit in extra-time, but he’s absolutely given everything for club and country and I think he’s had a fantastic season.

“People are starting to appreciate him now, whereas I’ve appreciated him all along.”

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is class.

Henderson hasn’t always been given the credit he deserves but his World Cup performances have just been too good for England fans to ignore.

Gerrard has stood by his compatriot all these years and you can just sense his happiness in the wider public praising him.

Like Gerrard says, Henderson can return with his head held high and look forward to a very important season for Liverpool.

If he can replicate his performances from Russia next season, then that big trophy could finally arrive.