“Clearly, Jordan is not fit. I don’t think he should be involved.”
Roy Keane has questioned why Gareth Southgate has included Jordan Henderson in England’s Euro 2020 squad as he is “clearly not fit”.
Before England’s friendly against Romania on Sunday, Liverpool captain Henderson hadn’t played since February after suffering a groin injury. He was named on the bench by Southgate for the Romania match and came on as a second-half substitute, where he missed a penalty.
Roy Keane on Jordan Henderson: ‘Does he do card tricks?’
“I know there’s talk he will come on for the second 45 minutes, but why not start him in the first 45 minutes where there’s obviously more intensity?” Keane questioned.
“In the second half, there will be lots of changes. I think it’s a huge distraction. Clearly, Jordan is not fit. I don’t think he should be involved.
“Well he can’t be fit if he can’t start the game against Romania. Physically and mentally, today’s game won’t be that tough to deal with.
Let’s make this summer special 🏴 ⚽️ 💥 pic.twitter.com/pezTxgWDB9
— Jordan Henderson (@JHenderson) June 1, 2021
“He’s an experienced player, but to not kick a ball for three-and-a-half months and go to a European Championship… he can’t be right.
“I’ve heard lots of people say they want him around the place. For what? Does he do card tricks? Does he have a sing-song? Do quizzes in the evenings? What does he do? And if you’re Liverpool then you wouldn’t be happy either.”
‘You want to play, and he’s clearly nowhere near it.’
While Henderson will offer plenty of wisdom and experience to what is a very youthful squad (the third-youngest squad on average in Euro 2020, behind Spain and Turkey), Keane isn’t convinced that the Liverpool captain will have much of a positive effect.
Keane went on to question whether Henderson himself wants to be a part of England’s squad, in the event he doesn’t get much game time.
“Surely Jordan doesn’t want to be around the place if he’s some sort of cheerleader, you want to play, and clearly he’s nowhere near it,” Keane commented.
“What you need after being out for three-and-a-half months is three or four games maybe. If he gets through the second 45 minutes, does that mean he’s an option in two or three weeks? He’s clearly not fit enough.”
Gareth Southgate on Jordan Henderson’s role in the England squad.
In his post-match press conference, Southgate was asked about Keane’s pre-match comments.
“Well, I think firstly we are not distracted by anything,” the England manager said.
“We know the situation Hendo is in, he’s been a very positive influence around the camp with the group.
“It’s a step forward for him physically today which was important for him to be able to play some sort of part in the tournament and we are realistic about what that could be.
“It’s not a situation where it’s dividing the group or it’s unrealistic what’s possible.
“We’re not hanging our hat on him being fit and if we can get him to a good level then that’s a bonus. We’ve got 26 players which hasn’t been the case before.”