Premier League • England

Gary Neville implies Liverpool star will never play at a World Cup again after unearthing lingering question

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson celebrating with Darwin Nunez in pre-season after scoring four goals against RB Leipzig

Gary Neville has included one Liverpool player within a prediction of who might not make it to a World Cup again after England were sent home from Qatar.

England lost their quarter-final clash with France on Saturday to exit the World Cup. Aurelien Tchouameni put the reigning champions ahead with a wonder goal, before Harry Kane equalised with a penalty.

Olivier Giroud then restored France’s lead with a header before Kane got another chance to equalise from the spot. This time, though, the country’s captain missed by blazing the ball over the bar.

It means England’s long wait for another international honour – at least in the men’s game – goes on.

Euro 2024 will be the next major tournament for them to aim for, before the next World Cup in the USA, Canada and Mexico in 2026.

By that time, England’s squad will have undergone a further evolution. They will hope to have found the right balance of personnel, although it means some of those from this year’s squad might be left behind.

According to former England international Neville, two players particularly at risk would be Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Manchester City’s Kyle Walker.

Neville told Sky Sports: “Those lads will feel sick this morning. They’ll feel gutted.

“I look at some of the lads last night, you know, Jordan Henderson obviously at his age, doing that interview where you think, in the back of his mind he’ll be thinking, ‘am I coming here again? Am I coming to the World Cup again?’

“Kyle Walker, who had a brilliant game against [Kylian] Mbappe. Those sorts of things go through my mind this morning because I’ve been there.

“In 2006, I sort of knew that this wasn’t going to be. I feel like that this morning.”

Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker nearing ends of England journeys

Henderson and Walker are both now 32 years of age. They have both been important for club and country still, but are already in the twilights of their careers.

For perspective, England’s 26-man squad in Qatar featured nobody above their age (Kieran Trippier is also 32). Therefore, it is unlikely they will make it to North America as 36-year-olds.

Of course, it is up to them whether they want to continue their international careers. If so, they will be working hard to remain at an elite level, and then you never know.

But realistically, Henderson and Walker might have come to the end of their journeys as World Cup players at least.

England have some promising players in their roles coming through the system. Therefore, in four years’ time, there might have been a changing of the guard.

Still, the pair mentioned by Neville are professional enough to ensure they have a chance of some kind of further longevity.

Both with more than 70 caps to their name, Henderson and Walker will be disappointed not to have earned any kind of trophy with their national team yet. It remains to be seen if they ever will.

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