Jordan Henderson made his long-awaited return to action for England on Sunday, but missed a penalty after coming off the bench for the second half vs. Romania.
It had been almost four months since Henderson’s last outing when he replaced Kalvin Phillips at half-time at Riverside, having been sidelined with a groin injury suffered in February’s Merseyside derby.
Having spent a lengthy period training at Kirkby, rebuilding his fitness, and returning to the matchday squad for Liverpool’s final game of the season, the 30-year-old was prepared.
But he looked too eager to make his mark as he took the ball from Dominic Calvert-Lewin to stand over a penalty looking to make it 2-0 following Marcus Rashford’s opener against Romania.
Henderson fired low to the goalkeeper’s right, but it was easily read and stopped, leading to criticism over his decision to assume duties over the Everton striker.
?? “I’ve missed much bigger penalties than that” ?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) June 6, 2021
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Henderson admitted he was “disappointed” but insisted he was “not too fussed,” with his priority being minutes on the pitch.
“Listen, I’ve missed bigger penalties than that – don’t worry about it!” he said.
“I’m disappointed of course, I felt more sorry for Dom, he let us have it, but unfortunately I couldn’t find the goal.
“I’m not too fussed to be honest, I’m more bothered about getting back out there and it’s nice to be back.”
Given the length of time between outings, there have been questions over whether Henderson should even be part of Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for this summer’s Euros.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has now been replaced by Brighton’s Ben White following a quad injury, but there is no danger of Liverpool’s captain pulling out, despite the manager joking that he would need to “pull rank” next time there is a spot-kick.
“I’ve trained for a long time in terms of general, overall pitch work. But the last few weeks, the back end of Liverpool and obviously now at England, has been team training,” Henderson continued.
“So that’s been a big step up, and I’ve really been adapting for the last two, three weeks in terms of that.
“But today, I’ve had that much training, I felt really good out there. It was nice to be back and it was important for me to get minutes.
“I’m ready whenever I’m called upon, but we’re going to need all the squad, I’ve seen it happen many a time before in tournaments where you need the full squad and it’s going to be the case again.
“So I’ve just got to keep working and be ready when asked upon.”