Jordan Henderson is an excellent player who netted his first goal for England in the national team’s 4-0 rout of Ukraine this weekend. Obviously, because some people just have to say things to remain relevant, Roy Keane had things to say about his inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad even before the tournament kicked off.
“He cannot be fit. But to have not kicked a ball for three and half months then go to a European Championships. He cannot be right,” Keane said. “Now, I have heard people say that they want him around the place. For what? Does he do card tricks? A sing-song? Quizzes in the evening? What does he do? If you’re Liverpool then you wouldn’t be happy either.”
Which is fair. Some Liverpool fans would definitely prefer to wrap all the players up in bubble wrap and have them nap until August. But Henderson has clearly made his impact known in England’s so far and Arsenal legend Paul Merson wants Keane to eat his words.
“[Henderson’s] a proper pro, isn’t he,” said Merson after the Ukraine game. “He’s a real professional. He has got on with it. He hasn’t been in the team and fair play to him. I know Roy Keane said ‘is he going because he’s playing karaoke’.”
“It’s nonsense. He goes because he’s a quality player. Great for the team and he’s not a moaner. For me, outstanding.”
Henderson will presumably return when England meet Denmark in the semi-finals on Wednesday. If he entertains the rest of the team with card tricks before then, well. No one seems to be objecting to that, either.