Liverpool star Jordan Henderson slammed over ‘selfish’ Euro 2020 decision amid injury woes
Euro 2020: England's final 26-man squad
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Former England striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has criticised Jordan Henderson’s failure to step aside from the Euro 2020 squad due to his current injury situation. The Liverpool skipper has not played since mid-February after picking up a groin problem, but was one of several recovering players named in England’s final 26-man group by Gareth Southgate on Tuesday afternoon.
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is also a doubt for the opening Group D match against Croatia later this month, while Jack Grealish only made his long-awaited return to action in Aston Villa’s final Premier League match of the season.
Kalvin Phillips also picked up a shoulder knock during Leeds United’s win over West Bromwich Albion and did not feature off the bench in England’s first warm-up fixture against Austria on Wednesday evening.
Southgate was handed yet another injury concern at the Riverside Stadium as Trent Alexander-Arnold hobbled off during the closing stages, with the Liverpool full-back nervously awaiting the results of a scan ahead of the next friendly against Romania on Sunday.
However, his club team-mate Henderson has been singled out by Agbonlahor, who played three matches for England between 2008 and 2009.
The former Aston Villa man told talkSPORT in no uncertain terms that the Liverpool captain should renounce his place in the squad in order to alleviate Southgate’s growing injury dilemma.
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“The thing that is really winding me up is the Henderson thing,” said Agbonlahor.
“He should just be honest with the manager now and say: ‘You know what, I am struggling here. I’m a leader and a captain in myself, I’ll do the right thing for the squad’.
“Bring in whoever you have to bring in as another central midfielder because this injury is playing up now. I think [Henderson] is being selfish.
“If you look at it, the squad has been announced and he told Southgate he is not fit. They said the scans have come back and they’re fine, but he knows himself that there is a niggle he is feeling.
“The tournament starts in ten days, you are playing against Croatia, playing against a good team. You need to be at it, you need a training session before the game, you need some games in you.”
Henderson was one of England’s best performers during the 2018 World Cup and will be looking to exert a similar influence this time around if he manages to overcome his troublesome groin injury.
Southgate justified the 30-year-old’s inclusion in the squad earlier this week by highlighting the importance of keeping his experience and know-how in the dressing room.
“Hendo has a bit to do to be available,” the England boss told reporters. “But his leadership and presence is already having an effect on the group.
“We think the experience they have and the fact we can get them to a point where they can have an involvement in the tournament that it’s worth taking them, especially as we have an extended squad of 26.
“The experienced players are the ones who know how to win and have been in tournaments before.
“Every squad is difficult to choose as we have a lot of talented players in this country. The most difficult thing is to not take players who have been with us in previous matches and who are such good professionals.
“I know what a disappointment it is to miss out on a major tournament. But we still have friendlies to get through and there have been plenty of examples in the past of players becoming injured and being ruled out.”
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