A knee injury sustained in Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund will in all probability rule Jordan Henderson out for the remainder of the season and Euro 2016.
Among Roy Hodgson’s staple starters, the Reds skipper’s near-certain unavailability will doubtless be considered a blow as opposed to a blessing inside the England camp, but Henderson’s misfortune can spare the Croydon Commandant a pounding selection headache this summer.
Having had the uncharacteristically slow-burning coals of their usually roaring fires of optimism billowed by a splendid showing in Germany recently, in which the Three Lions so impressively overcame the world champions on their own patch, the general consensus among national team fans was that Hodgson has to pick the same system and side for their coming Euros campaign.
Captain Wayne Rooney was conspicuously absent for England’s finest performance in many a year and the fact that he should be shunted to the sidelines owing to his incompatibility with the Berlin blueprint has been widely discussed.
Currently coming back from his own knee injury, it is expected the Manchester United striker will be fit for the Euros and, despite how well his peers played in Germany, it’s impossible to think he wouldn’t instantly command a starting spot if fit, whether he deserves it or not.
Omitting the captain, top scorer and talisman is simply not an option and it’s difficult to imagine Hodgson dicing with dressing-room decimation by taking Rooney to France and forcing him to bench warm for the first time in his long career.
Were he to select the Man Utd star and England reverted to their languid, low-energy former selves, the coach would cop the rap for not being savvy/strong enough to keep faith with the youngsters that flourished in Berlin.
Now he has lost a key member of that team, however, Hodgson doesn’t have to adjust the modus operandi or sacrifice Rooney.
Henderson excelled in a box-to-box capacity in the Olympiastaion, where he endless energy levels ensured he was constantly finding good positions in the final third when England had the ball without compromising defensive shape when it was lost.
Rooney has fulfilled a similar role for United on rare occasions in the past, but he would drop into the number ten berth following the loss of the Liverpool ace and Dele Alli, whose young legs would have no trouble covering the ground required of a box-to-box midfielder, would start a little deeper.
In terms of goal threat, it’s certainly an attractive proposition and it would save Hodgson plenty of potential stress too as he looks to land odds of 8/1 about England winning the Euros.