Gareth Southgate all but rules Jordan Henderson out of England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia… with the Three Lions also left devastated by his Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury which will see him miss the tournament
That worrying news was followed by another blow as full back Trent Alexander-Arnold pulled out of the squad because of the thigh injury he picked up against Austria.
With Henderson struggling, manager Southgate has indicated wonderkid Jude Bellingham is in contention to replace his vice-captain in next week’s Wembley showdown.
Gareth Southgate has all-but confirmed that Jordan Henderson will miss the Croatia opener
Henderson had been due to make his first appearance since February following groin surgery in Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Austria. But after he complained of discomfort on the morning of the game, a decision was taken to rest the Liverpool captain.
A scan has shown that he did not aggravate the injury and he was due to train as normal on Thursday.
There remains hope Henderson can play a part in Sunday’s final pre-tournament friendly against Romania. But the likelihood of the midfielder starting against Croatia appears remote, given his severe lack of competitive football.
The Liverpool star has faced a race to reach full fitness for the Euro 2020 opener on June 13
Henderson did not play against Austria on Wednesday and concerns are growing for the star
Southgate admitted Henderson’s hopes of featuring in the opening match are fading and even cast doubt over his involvement for the rest of the tournament.
‘I don’t think it would be fair to rule him out of it but I think it’s clear to everyone how much football he’s missed,’ said Southgate.
‘The timelines are getting more difficult with each training session he might miss. But I’m being very realistic about what’s possible here. It’s a decision we took (to select Henderson) because we have been able to take extra players and we feel he is such an important influence around the place. If we can get him close to being able to contribute on the pitch against Croatia that will be a real bonus at the moment.’
With Southgate all but ruling Henderson out of the Croatia match, it is hard to see him coming into the starting line up for England’s second game against Scotland, which promises to be an intense tussle.
Southgate has been dealt a huge blow to his plans following an injury to one of his defenders
Trent Alexander-Arnold will miss the Euros after picking up a thigh injury against Austria
Bellingham has played himself into contention to play in England’s midfield alongside Declan Rice against Croatia if Henderson isn’t available to start.
The 17-year-old was excellent in the victory over the Austrians and when asked whether Bellingham had done enough to convince him he could start at the Euros, Southgate answered: ‘The best way to answer that is to say he is not just here for the experience. You’ve seen what he is capable of, we’ve seen that for Borussia Dortmund especially in the Champions League.
‘The whole group respect him, he has great humility around the camp but he competes in training like he’s been with them from day one which is a great mentality to have.’ Alexander-Arnold has been ruled out of action for four to six weeks.
Henderson’s fitness uncertainty could pave the way for Jude Bellingham to start on June 13