‘Why is he…’ – Stephen Warnock questions international boss over call on one Liverpool player

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Stephen Warnock has questioned Gareth Southgate over his decision to name Jordan Henderson in the England matchday squad against Italy last Thursday.

Following a recent illness, the Liverpool captain was named among the substitutes in Naples, although he wasn’t deployed despite doing a warm-up.

The Three Lions manager said the 32-year-old was ‘undercooked’ for the clash against the European champions (via Liverpool Echo), but the Reds midfielder then started in Sunday’s win over Ukraine at Wembley.

Warnock wasn’t impressed with Southgate over Henderson being in the matchday squad for the Italy game in spite of the manager’s aforementioned comment, insisting that the Anfield skipper should’ve been allowed to rest instead.

The ex-Liverpool defender told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport (26/03/23): “Why is he on the bench, then, if he isn’t there to be used? It worked in his favour because they got the result.

“It’s one of those, if he is still undercooked, and you do bring him on or you aren’t going to bring him on, then there is no point. You might as well leave him in the hotel to rest up completely.”

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It’s a valid argument from Warnock – if Southgate had no intention of bringing Henderson on against Italy, the midfielder would surely have been better off resting for the subsequent fixture.

Thankfully, the Liverpool captain came through the full 90 minutes against Ukraine without any discernible worries.

Indeed, the 32-year-old served a reminder on Sunday of what he can offer – aside from setting up Bukayo Saka’s brilliant goal, he completed 65 passes (third-most for England on the day) and found a teammate with 80% of his crosses, as per Sofascore.

It was perhaps remiss of Southgate to name Henderson among the substitutes in Naples if he wasn’t ready to feature, but at least the Three Lions boss didn’t introduce the Reds player prematurely and risk him picking up an injury stemming from a lack of match fitness due to his recent layoff.

The midfielder returns to Kirkby having returned to gameday action and put in a good performance, making it an ideal international window for our number 14 ahead of a busy – and indeed crucial – April and May for Liverpool.

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