Gareth Southgate provides Jordan Henderson update and hails Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips in England midfield role

BOSS Gareth Southgate has opened up on the decision to include Jordan Henderson in his Euros squad and hailed Kalvin Phillips for keeping England well covered in centre midfield.

Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:42 pm
Updated Friday, 18th June 2021, 12:44 pm

Liverpool captain Henderson was named in Southgate's final 26-man squad for this summer's European Championships despite having not played for his club since February's Merseyside derby.

Henderson was forced off against the Toffees with a groin injury which required surgery and finally returned to competitive action when replacing Phillips as a half-time substitute in England s final Euros warm up friendly against Romania this month.

Henderson then stayed on the bench for England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia as West Ham's Declan Rice partnered Phillips in midfield as part of a contest in which Phillips set up the only goal of the game for Raheem Sterling.

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CONSISTENTY TRAINING: Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, left, pictured alongside, left to right, Brighton's Ben White, Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and Wolves' Conor Coady. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.

Rice and Phillips both played the full game.

Asked about Henderson's place in the squad, Southgate said: "With a 26-man squad we were able to take a little bit more of a risk with Hendo.

"What he brings to the group on the training pitch, around the camp, his experience, the way he can speak to some of the other players in those quiet moments around the hotel, similar to Harry (Maguire) the way he trains, the way he approaches his work, is a great advantage for us to have in the team.

"He's training consistently now and getting closer to the level we need him to be at.

"Also I think we've got some decent cover in that area of the pitch but the drop-off from not taking Hendo was such that we preferred to give him the opportunity to make it.

"We've had Jude (Bellingham) come through which has been a real bonus, as well as Kalvin.

"You've got to have the physical part right, even if it's for 15, 20 minutes of the game.

"You've got to be able to press well, you've got to be able to get around the pitch well but there are other factors when you're building a squad and a team and all of those parts are key to producing a winning environment."

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Thank you Laura Collins