Gareth Southgate axes Jordan Henderson and picks Adam Wharton in England squad

Jordan Henderson with Gareth Southgate
Gareth Southgate clearly wants to move on from a midfield with Jordan Henderson in it - REUTERS/CARL RECINE

Jordan Henderson has been axed from the England squad for Euro 2024 with Adam Wharton handed a shock call-up by Gareth Southgate.

Henderson, 33, was picked by Southgate earlier in the season during his unhappy spell at Al-Ettifaq in Saudi Arabia and also included in the squad for the March internationals although he had a knock and did not play.

But the midfielder has now been left out of a long-list of players for this summer’s tournament, which has opened the door for Wharton following his move to Crystal Palace from Blackburn Rovers in January. The 20-year-old has caught the eye in central midfield.

Eze and Wharton

Wharton’s Palace team-mate Eberechi Eze is set to be included by Southgate, as is Liverpool’s Curtis Jones. The England manager will officially unveil his training squad at 2pm today, picking about 30 players to train and play in matches against Bosnia and Iceland before the Euros.

Henderson had moved to Ajax in January after his six-month spell in the Saudi league, with the move to the Dutch giants seen as an attempt to keep his place in Southgate’s squad for this summer’s tournament in Germany. But he also missed a chunk of games after the last international break and only returned for the final three matches of the campaign.

Henderson’s absence is something of a shock considering his status in the squad. He was vice-captain for the March internationals and, if fit, would have taken the armband because Harry Kane was not able to play.

Earlier in the season, Henderson said his move to Saudi Arabia was influenced by his desire to play for England this summer.

“If I’m not playing, that can be quite difficult for me,” Henderson said.

“Especially when England’s a big thing for me. You’ve got the Euros coming up. And then there was an approach from Al-Ettifaq to the club to see if it would be possible for me to go there.”

With 81 caps and nine of them as skipper, Henderson had a huge amount of experience heading into another major tournament and had been part of every World Cup or Euros squad under Southgate. He also played in the final at the last Euros, coming off the bench at Wembley in the defeat to Italy on penalties.

Jarrod Bowen will be among Southgate’s forwards for his pool of training players, while he has a dilemma for his back-up keepers and James Trafford is pushing for his place on the long-list despite losing his No1 place at Burnley.

Luke Shaw is set to be included despite not playing since February. He has been a major doubt for the finals after a setback from his return from a hamstring injury and is still a huge concern, although Southgate has little cover at left-back. Ben Chilwell is not expected to be part of the squad.