Henderson the only England midfielder who should be guaranteed Euro 2020 starting berth - Murphy

The Reds skipper has not always earned widespread praise for his efforts, but Micah Richards believes he has become a key man for club and country
The Reds skipper has not always earned widespread praise for his efforts, but Micah Richards believes he has become a key man for club and country

Danny Murphy claims that Liverpool's Jordan Henderson is the only midfielder who should be guaranteed a place in Gareth Southgate's England line-up at next summer's European Championship.

The Three Lions booked their place in the continental tournament after beating Montenegro 7-0 at Wembley on Thursday night.

Southgate's men followed up that result with a comfortable 4-0 win away to Kosovo on Sunday, ensuring they finished top of Group A ahead of the Czech Republic in the process.

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England will be aiming to build on a promising semi-final showing at last year's World Cup in Russia by progressing to the latter stages of Euro 2020, with a young, attack-minded side being tipped to end a long wait for international silverware.

However, ex-Liverpool star Murphy, who earned nine England caps over the course of his career, thinks Southgate may have a selection dilemma on his hands in the middle of the park.

The 42-year-old believes Henderson is the only midfielder who deserves to start at the European Championship regardless of what system the England boss opts for.

"Jordan's always in it," Murphy told TalkSPORT. "There are good options in there for Gareth, but I don't think it's worth saying now that should be the three, because if I was playing a lesser nation, I'd have no problem playing Maddison and Mount, ahead of Henderson or Winks or Rice.

"But if you're playing France - the best team in the world - then you might go for Winks, Henderson, and Oxlade-Chamberlain, because they can all do the defensive bit, they're all disciplined.

"I think it's good Gareth's got options. I'm glad that Winks and Rice are fighting it out. I'm glad they're both in the squad because I think they've both got big futures and are very capable."

Murphy went on to warn of the potential pitfalls a 4-3-3 formation could bring for England, adding: "The other factor is if you're playing a midfield three, England have got at the moment two brilliant attacking full-backs but if they're going to go as well then the midfield three, if they're too attacking [then] England, are going to be too open.

"So you've got to work out who you're playing against. In another three months as well players lose form and get injured.

"The fact is there are some good options, and we're capable. It's more at the back that I think England fans worry than in the midfield."

The England squad are not due to reconvene until March, with attention set to switch back to club commitments between now and spring.

Henderson will be back in Premier League action with Liverpool for a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

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