Sunday 8 December 2019

Lampard injury opens the door for Henderson

Henry Winter

Roy Hodgson will take Jordan Henderson to Euro 2012 if, as expected, Frank Lampard is ruled out today after a scan on a thigh injury.

Henderson has been chosen even though Michael Carrick has not retired from international football and has always told the FA he would be available in an emergency.

Carrick has returned from holiday, but it seems the chances of his receiving a phone call from Hodgson are minimal. The moment Lampard pulled up in training at London Colney, running into a corner to retrieve a loose ball, Hodgson placed Henderson on standby.

It is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Henderson, who has been strongly criticised for failing to deliver at Anfield since his £20m move from Sunderland. If Kenny Dalglish was anywhere near a microphone last night, no doubt his famous wit would have been at its most sardonic. As his successor prepared to move into his old office, his predecessor at Anfield was reuniting the talents of Henderson, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll in England's Euros squad.

It would be premature to suggest Henderson's promotion proves Dalglish was right all along, but it does show he is not alone in believing the 21-year-old has class. Henderson must now prove yet another manager is not deluded in seeing qualities others are struggling to witness.

The sight of England players limping towards scan machines or out of tournaments is a wearyingly familiar summer image, highlighting the stresses placed on their bodies during the intense season. This plight was memorably summed up by UEFA president Michel Platini with his verdict that "English players are lions in the autumn and lambs in the spring".

Medical research at Linkoping University in Sweden indicated that elite male players were four times more likely to suffer stress injuries in countries like England which don't have a winter break than in those which do. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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