On the one hand, it’s always good when a critical player for Liverpool gets a chance to show just how good he is on the international stage. On the other hand, it’s not great when that return to the stage is accompanied by a missed penalty. Jordan Henderson played for 45 minutes in England’s friendly against Romania this weekend, and while his leadership and communication on the pitch were lauded by Gareth Southgate, his decision to take a penalty that was then saved was not.
“It was good to get back on the pitch for 45 minutes after a while out,” Henderson told Sky Sports after the game ended. “So, delighted to do that. It was important for me, physically of course but mentally as well, just to get out there and get some minutes. So, I’m delighted to be back.”
“The last few weeks – the back end [of the season] with Liverpool and obviously now England – there has been team training. So, that’s been a big step up. I’ve been adapting for the last two, three weeks in terms of that.
“Today, I’ve had that much training, I felt really good out there. It was nice to be back and, like I say, it was important for me to get minutes. So, I’m ready whenever called upon.
“But we’re going to need all the squad; I’ve seen it happen many times before in tournaments where you need the full squad and it’s going to be the case again,” Henderson added. “I’ve just got to keep working and be ready when asked upon.”
The team was already 1-0 up when Henderson stepped forward to take the penalty (something even Southgate wasn’t expecting) so his miss didn’t make a different to the score, but it was still difficult to see.
“I was confident but it was a good save, it wasn’t a great penalty, a good height for the goalkeeper but I am not too bothered,” Henderson added when asked about the save. “It would have been nice to cap the comeback off with a goal.”