Roy Keane says that he does not think Jordan Henderson should have a place in the England squad if he could not play more than 45 minutes in a warm-up match.
The Liverpool captain came on at half time during Sunday’s 1-0 win over Romania. He endured a mixed return to action as he played his first minutes since February, though. The 30-year-old had the chance to make it 2-0 from the penalty spot, but goalkeeper Florin Nita saved his effort.
Speaking after the match, Southgate insisted that he would “pull rank” over his penalty taker next time.
Indeed, he intended for Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin to take the second spot-kick, after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse went off.
Nevertheless, Keane offered his view, claiming that Henderson clearly lacks the fitness going into Sunday’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia.
“I was convinced Jordan was going to play the other day,” the pundit told ITV Sport. “I think it’s a huge distraction – he’s clearly not fit.
“I don’t think he should be involved. If he can’t start against Romania, he’s not fit. Physically and mentally, this game won’t be that tough for him to deal with, he’s an experienced player.
“He’s not kicked a ball for three and a half months and he’s going to European Championship? He can’t be right.”
Despite his lack of action and fitness, Southgate has praised Henderson’s leadership as a key reason for his inclusion.
Indeed, the midfielder is the Three Lions’ vice-captain behind Tottenham striker Harry Kane.
However, Keane did not buy that reasoning when it was put to him by fellow pundit Ian Wright.
Roy Keane slams Henderson
He said: “I’ve heard a lot of people say they want him around the place. For what?
“Does he do card tricks? Does he have a sing-song? Does he do quizzes in the evening? What does he do?
“Liverpool won’t be happy either.
“Surely Jordan doesn’t want to be around the place being some sort of cheerleader, you want to play and clearly he’s nowhere near it.”
All eyes will now be on Southgate for his starting lineup for Sunday’s clash with Croatia.
Kane will return to the team, while those who took part in the Champions League final – the likes of Phil Foden and Mason Mount – could also start.