Jordan Henderson has been added to England’s squad for the games against Italy and Germany after making a quicker than expected return from injury.
When Henderson damaged his hamstring in Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Newcastle on August 31, it had been envisaged that he would be ruled out of these Nations League fixtures, with his club manager Jurgen Klopp assessing the situation as ‘not good’.
But once the injury began to settle, Henderson privately hoped he would make sufficient progress for Gareth Southgate to include him in his plans for England’s final camp before the World Cup and had remained in contact with the head coach.
Southgate did not initially name Henderson in his 28-man party for the trip to Milan and the clash at Wembley, which he announced last Thursday, as the 32-year-old had not figured in any of Liverpool’s three previous games.
The plan, though, was for Henderson to join up provided he came through a number of sessions over the weekend without issue and, as that was the case, he reported to St George’s Park late on Monday night – no players travelled to Burton while The Queen’s funeral was in progress.
Klopp was happy for his captain to go away with England to get some game time and has no worries about his fitness as there was a possibility he would have been included in Liverpool’s squad for their scheduled trip to Chelsea last weekend, had it not been postponed.
Henderson’s availability is certainly a boost for Southgate, who saw Kalvin Phillips withdraw over the weekend – Phillips has only played 14 minutes in all competitions for Manchester City this season since his £42million move from Leeds.
There have also been concerns over the form of West Ham’s Declan Rice, who was disappointing in his side’s 1-0 defeat at Everton on Sunday, and Chelsea’s Mason Mount; Jude Bellingham and James Ward-Prowse were the other midfielders selected.
For Henderson, the potential of being involved in this camp held great importance. He has only played once for England in 2022 – the friendly at Wembley against Switzerland on March 26 – and did not feature in four games in June, as Southgate felt he would benefit from a break.
Yet with this being the last opportunity for England’s squad to be together before they head to Qatar in November, Henderson did not want to miss out – nor did Southgate, who views him as one of his important characters.