‘Definite starters for me’ – Liverpool man among pundit’s picks for first-choice England XI
Former England international Chris Waddle believes as many as five places in the Three Lions squad are set in stone – and thinks Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson occupies one of them.
Waddle was covering England’s latest European Championship qualifier for BBC Radio 5 Live when he made the comments, as Gareth Southgate’s side ran out easy 4-0 winners over Bulgaria at Wembley.
A Harry Kane hat-trick and a Raheem Sterling strike maintained England’s perfect record in Group A, as they top the group having played at least a game fewer than the rest of their qualifying opponents.
The ease at which England are progressing towards a spot at the finals in June was all too apparent for Waddle – and highlighted those in the squad who he says are assured of their place in Southgate’s squad in nine months’ time.
He said: “We haven’t seen a team in this group who has been near England. They are far, far too good for this group. It’s all about how they do at the European Championships next year.
“[Jordan] Pickford, [Harry] Maguire, [Jordan] Henderson, [Raheem] Sterling and [Harry] Kane are the definite starters for me. The rest of [the] places are still up for grabs heading into the Euros.”
It could be argued that there are not too many surprises in Waddle’s summation of the quality in England’s squad – with Sterling and Kane in goalscoring form at the weekend, while Pickford and Maguire notched a third clean sheet in five games for the Three Lions with their latest shutout.
Meanwhile, Henderson’s value to the squad may go a little understated – with the Liverpool midfielder yet to score for his country and has only played the full 90 minutes twice since the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup.
Though as a victorious Reds captain – and having previously worn the armband for England – perhaps his experience of conquering the continent for his club will be of similar value to Southgate as he prepares his squad to do the same on the international stage – hence Waddle’s recommendation to ensure Henderson of a starting place at Euro 2020.
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