SULLEY Muntari insists Jordan Henderson has lived up to the hype surrounding him.
Muntari has partnered Henderson in central midfield for each of his four outings for the Black Cats since arriving on loan from Inter Milan in the January transfer window.
Ghana team-mate and Sunderland record signing Asamoah Gyan told Muntari about Henderson’s potential while the Champions League winner was still plying his trade in Serie A.
And the 26-year-old duly watched Henderson in action when he made his senior England debut against France last November.
Ex-Portsmouth man Muntari has been even more impressed by working alongside Henderson in the flesh and believes there is plenty more to come from a player who has started every Premier League game for Sunderland this season.
Muntari, right, said: “Jordan’s a great player – a good young player who has a lot of ambition to do well.
“I’d heard about him before coming here.
“What I heard was true because he’s doing great.
“Asa told me he’s a good player and then I watched him in the England friendly against France.
“He’s got good energy and he’s young, so he wants to keep running everywhere.
“He’s very good with the ball at his feet which is great. I like him a lot.
“I’m very happy to be playing alongside him and hope he can become an even better player.”
While Henderson’s form has dipped since making his England bow, the 20-year-old looked more like his old self in Sunderland’s last outing at Arsenal.
It was the first time the Henderson/Muntari midfield axis had helped Sunderland to any spoils, after the Black Cats finished on the losing side in each of the latter’s first three games for his new club.
But the display at the Emirates was not sufficient to earn Henderson another call-up from Fabio Capello, with the Herrington-born midfielder named alongside Sunderland team-mate Danny Welbeck in the U21 squad for friendlies against Denmark and Iceland later this month.
That will cost Henderson the chance to pit his wits against Muntari when Ghana travel to Wembley to take on Capello’s men in a friendly on Tuesday, March 29.
Sunderland’s Ghanaian trio John Mensah, Muntari and Gyan are all expected to feature for the Black Stars, with the latter returning from a three-match suspension.