Henderson happy to be back in Australia

It's been a season of mixed fortunes for North Queensland Fury goalkeeper Paul Henderson but the 33-year-old says he's just happy to be back playing in Australia after five years in England.

It's been a season of mixed fortunes for North Queensland Fury goalkeeper Paul Henderson but the 33-year-old says he's just happy to be back playing in Australia after five years in England.

Henderson never had his heart set on being a keeper, but a chance suggestion from a friend convinced the then 17-year-old to give goal tending a go back in 1994.

"A friend of mine said the Sutherland Sharks were looking for a goalkeeper, and I said I may as well," said Henderson of his first foray into keeping.

Forty appearances for the Sharks in the New South Wales Premier League was followed by a six-year stint with the now defunct Northern Spirit in the NSL.

After a year's break from the game, Henderson decided to pack his bags and head to the shores of England to try his luck in the toughest league in the world.

A trial with Blackpool failed to secure a club for the keeper, who then signed for Bradford City in August 2004 on a one-year contract, a move that Henderson describes as his career highlight.

While the Australian impressed during his time at Bradford, he knocked back a three-year contract renewal offer from the club and instead tried his fortunes with Leicester City in the summer of 2005.

It was here at Leicester that Henderson blossomed into his role, playing himself into first choice keeper and notching up 63 games for the club over three years.

His stint in English football climaxed with a League One title for Leicester in April 2009, and Henderson looks back now on his playing days in England as the best time of his life.

"It was fantastic … it's a very, very difficult league to play in, and one of those things I was glad that I went over when I did, although it would have been better if I was younger," said Henderson.

"The facilities, the culture … football was like a religion there and it was fantastic."

"When you get over there you realise that it's a job and not a hobby, there's so much riding on the league over there."

A release from Leicester prompted the keeper to explore his options back home and with the revamped Hyundai A-League set to take off, Henderson was keen for a piece of the action.

"I knew there was two new teams coming into the competition, and I felt it was the right time to come home," he said.

With Fury manager and his former Spirit team-mate Ian Ferguson chasing a keeper, it was the perfect opportunity.

"It's always difficult being a goalkeeper, you're sort of limited as to what you can do … it all depends on timing and there's a lot of goalkeepers so it's hard to compete for that one position," said Henderson.

Having a young family also played a role in Henderson's decision to move back down under.

"It was a big thing coming home, I've got two children and just wanted to get closer to home," he said.

While the Fury have only three wins from fourteen starts this season, they're only two points out of the top six and have the right attitude to be finals contenders.

"We've got a good bunch of guys, they're hard working and honest, and there's not one day where we're not putting 100 percent in," he said.

"In the last 10 weeks we haven't been winning as many games, but we're not losing either."

And Henderson's future ambitions are simple enough: "I just want to play in the finals … I want to play as many games as I can, and do a good job and play consistently."