Jordan Henderson laughs off Roy Keane criticism: ‘I do know a few card tricks - but I’m ready to start!’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4-min read
Jordan Henderson laughs off Roy Keane criticism: ‘I do know a few card tricks - but I’m ready to start!’
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Jordan Henderson has laughed off Roy Keane’s criticism of his inclusion in the England squad and says he is ready to start their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday.

Keane slammed Gareth Southgate’s decision to name Henderson in his 26-man squad, describing picking the “clearly not fit” Liverpool captain as a “huge distraction”.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say they want him around the place,” Keane said in his role as an ITV pundit. “For what? Does he do card tricks?”

Henderson made his first appearance since February as a half-time substitute in England’s warm-up match against Romania last Sunday, having missed most of the second half of the season following groin surgery.

“To be fair to Roy, he can say whatever he wants about me,” he said. “He gave me my debut [at Sunderland] and I wouldn’t be here without him giving me that.

“I found it quite funny, actually.

“Listen, we know a little bit more detail [about my condition], I know more detail and so does the manager, which Roy may not.

“But in terms of stuff like that, everyone’s going to have an opinion, everybody’s going to think they know better than everybody else.

“But for me all my focus has been on the last couple of months is working as hard as I possibly can to be in a position where I can contribute in the tournament and I’m very thankful I’m in that position now.”

Southgate says any significant involvement for Henderson and Harry Maguire – who missed the end of the season with ankle ligament damage – at the tournament would be “a bonus” and admitted it would have been a harder decision to include them in the squad if he was limited to 23 players.

But Henderson insisted he is not simply part of the group, which is the second-youngest at the tournament, as an experienced cheerleader.

“The card tricks Roy was on about - I’ve got a few of them up my sleeve!” the Reds midfielder said.

“But, listen, as a player you want to play and I’m not coming here just to be around the camp, like Roy was saying.

“I want to come here and I want to contribute in the games. How much of that is not really down to me, it’s up to the manager to make a decision.

“But whenever I’m called upon, I’ll be ready and hopefully I can be a big contribution to this tournament and our success going forward.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

“Physically I feel good,” he added.

“I’ve trained for a long, long time. The difference with training on your own to team training is a big step up but I’ve done that over the last few weeks.

“I’ve played minutes in the [Romania] game. Ideally, yes, you’d probably want to play a few games more but I think in the game I felt fine – you’ll know better than me watching, how I looked.

“But feel as though as I was pretty normal in the game. Obviously it’s a friendly and it’ll be another step up in tournament football.

“But that’s down to me to show in training how physically ready I am and then it’s up to the manager to make the decision.”

Asked if he feared his tournament hopes were over following groin surgery in February, he said: “No, not really. I was still quite positive and thought I had enough time to train and get back, if not for the end of the season then this tournament.

“I was always quite positive and so were the physios to be fair, but when you’re going through the injury and rehab and stuff, you’re always aware of the timeframe, but I’ve worked really hard.

“I’m fit. You probably wouldn’t know, but I’ve trained for a long time. It’s a little bit different training on your own instead of team training, which I managed to do towards the back end of the season with Liverpool.

“There was a bit of a gap then because everyone was off, so I continued to work on my own and then picked up training with England again.

“That period has been really good for me, the intensity has stepped up the last few weeks and I got into the game the other day, which was important, so I’m going into the tournament in a good place, but I also realise I haven’t played that much in recent months. But I feel really good and hopefully I can be ready whenever called upon.

“It’s always difficult when you’re injured. I find it difficult when there’s no football, but I’ve worked hard to get to this point, so I’m very grateful to be here. I’ve got to thank all the physios at the club and obviously here to get me to this point.

“But I feel good and hopefully I can contribute when we get into the tournament.”

Read More

Raheem Sterling not concerned by his standing in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of Euros

England defender Harry Maguire getting ‘better’ in race for Euros opener

England midfielder Jordan Henderson ‘getting stronger’ ahead of Euro 2020 opener after injury comeback

Ben White on ‘surreal’ late England call up: ‘I thought I’d be in Portugal, not at Euros!’

Phil Foden backs England to win Euros and says he feels no pressure ahead of first major tournament