For an outside observer, the men’s English national team has long been a fascinating case study in a team that should, at least theoretically, on paper, be better than it actually has been.
The reasons for this dysfunction are obvious to all, including but not limited to: regional biases, FA politics, deep tribalism between clubs, and baffling and consistent inability to take a penalty. Last year’s World Cup was a surprise in that England seemingly got their shit together—even managing to win a penalty shootout—making it all the way to the semifinals (before predictably shitting the bed against Croatia).
Manager Gareth Southgate had seemingly found a way to navigate around all the things that had been holding England back for so long. But old habits die hard, and all these shortcomings were on display yesterday when Raheem Sterling—still salty about the 3-1 defeat to his former team on Sunday—attacked Joe Gomez.
Although England captain Harry Kane was on hand for the bust-up, Southgate reportedly turned to Jordan Henderson, who had yet to arrive at the training camp.
“For all their competitiveness on the pitch at Anfield, Henderson and Sterling have a close relationship,” the Telegraph reported, “Henderson was contacted via phone and spoke to Gomez and Sterling with them both in the same room. Sterling was apologetic, and could see that the situation had escalated far beyond what he had anticipated. But he did not at any point leave St George’s Park.”
Liverpool fans often take Henderson for granted. Not only is he a fantastic footballer who gives his all for the Reds on the pitch, he’s also a leader off the pitch, respected by fellow players and coaches alike.
Hopefully Henderson, Gomez, and Trent Alexander-Arnold can all return safe and sound from international duty, and get back to the business of figuratively putting Sterling and City in their place.