Jordan Henderson is ‘not as good’ as Liverpool fans think and England ‘do not need’ the midfielder at the European Championship.
That is the view of talkSPORT host Andy Goldstein, who reckons the Reds skipper might be a passenger at the tournament due to Declan Rice’s certain involvement in the starting XI.
Henderson, who has skippered Liverpool to a Champions League and Premier League trophy during his decade stay at Anfield, played just 21 times this season due to an injury setback in February.
He has hardly kicked a ball since then and made his playing return last week when England defeated Romania 1-0 in the build-up to Euro 2020, which begins this Friday.
But, while putting in a steady performance, his return was marred by penalty controversy as he overruled Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take a spot kick, which he missed.
The scenes saw Henderson draw criticism from manager Gareth Southgate and fans question why he is in the squad in the first place having only just returned to fitness.
And Goldstein believes Henderson’s involvement might have also cost Southgate an opportunity to experiment more with his squad, with West Ham ace Rice a shoo-in for the starting XI.
“I’m not convinced about Henderson,” said The Sports Bar presenter.
“I know he’s a good player but I don’t think he’s as good as some people have told me – of course those are mainly Liverpool fans.
“My problem with why he’s in the England team is because we have too many great players – or very good players – who can do stuff with the ball, but don’t have too many who only do the defensive stuff. Declan Rice is one of them and Henderson is the other.
“I don’t think we need two and if you take Henderson out we can play [Jude] Bellingham and [Mason] Mount.
“I think our midfield is far better with Rice, Bellingham and Mount.”
Former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy disagreed with his Sports Bar colleague, arguing that Henderson’s experience and leadership is vital for morale in the Three Lions’ camp.
“I can understand why he’s in the squad. If you look at how inexperienced our midfield is; Rice, Bellingham, [Phil] Foden, Mount,” he said.
“Those four players won’t have as many caps as he’s got – so I can understand why he’s there.
“You could argue [James] Ward-Prowse was unlucky not to be there but again he’s a very inexperienced player.”
Cundy continued: “I don’t think he’s going to start because he’s not up to speed yet. But you don’t do what he’s done in the game for his club and country if you’re not a good player.
“I’ve seen England games where we’ve missed him. Look at Liverpool this seasoon, when he didn’t play they missed him.
“His influence on the pitch can go under the radar a little bit because when he doesn’t play you tend to notice more that he’s not there.
“Is he a Steven Gerrard? No. Very few people in world football have been, but he’s a leader in there and organises.”