Roy Keane was annoyed that England boss Gareth Southgate chose to call up Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson for Euro 2020.
Southgate’s Three Lions kicked-off their Euro preparations with a 1-0 win against fellow finalists Austria at the Riverside Stadium on Wednesday, before beating Romania by the same scoreline last night.
Kalvin Phillips partnered James Ward-Prowse in midfield in the first half against Romania, with Henderson replacing the Leeds man at half-time.
The 30-year-old had not played for club or country since February 20 after undergoing groin surgery, making his fitness a key pre-tournament question along with that surrounding Harry Maguire.
An important figure in Southgate’s squad, the England vice-captain had been due to feature against Austria until complaining of a minor knock that morning.
A precautionary scan cleared Henderson to continue and he looked comfortable on his return, playing a few nice passes as he looked to shake off rust that had understandably built.
But Keane doesn’t think Southgate should’ve included the Liverpool midfielder, who missed a penalty against Romania, in the squad.
“Clearly Jordan is not fit, I don’t think he should be involved,” Keane told ITV.
“He can’t be fit if he can’t start a game against Romania. Because physically and mentally, today’s game won’t be that tough for him.
“He’s an experienced player but he hasn’t kicked a ball for three and a half months and going into a European Championships, he can’t be right.
“Now I’ve heard people saying they want him around the place. For what? Does he do card tricks? Does he have a sing song, does he have quizzes in the evenings, what does he do?
“And if you’re Liverpool you wouldn’t be happy either.”
Henderson took the captain’s armband from Marcus Rashford when the goalscorer was replaced and made the call to step up and take the second penalty of the evening himself.
Southgate admitted he thought Dominic Calvert-Lewin – who won the penalty and wanted to take it – would have been the taker, he said: “Marcus and James Ward-Prowse were the two nominated at the start of the game.
“Of course they both came off, so I’d have to say I was expecting Dominic to take it at that point. But Hendo was the captain on the field by then and was the one to make the decision.
“He’s been a very positive influence around the camp with with the group. It’s a step forward for him physically today, which was important in order for him to be able to play some sort of part in the tournament.”