Jordan Henderson named in England squad for Ukraine and Scotland games

England vice-captain Henderson’s move to Saudi club Al-Ettifaq came under scrutiny due to his long-time support for the LGBT+ community.

Jordan Henderson named in England squad for Ukraine and Scotland clashes PA Media

Al-Ettifaq midfielder Jordan Henderson has been named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland, but there was no place for Raheem Sterling.

The road to next summer’s European Championship continues with a qualifier against Ukraine in Poland on September 9, before playing a friendly in Scotland three days later.

Southgate has largely stuck with the tried and tested with his 26-man squad for the double-header, giving call-ups to three regulars with questions over their international roles.

England vice-captain Henderson’s move to Saudi club Al-Ettifaq raises questions ahead of the Euros, while former Manchester United captain Harry Maguire and Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips have yet to play a minute of club football this season.

Under-21 European Championship winner Levi Colwill received his first formal call-up and uncapped Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has also got the nod for the first time.

There is no place for Chelsea forward Sterling despite a strong start to the campaign.

Henderson’s inclusion came after he opted to leave Liverpool for the Saudi Pro League in the summer and Southgate admits he has some concerns looking to the future.

<em>Henderson swapped Liverpool for Saudi Arabia this summer (Joe Giddens/PA)</em>” /><span class=

Speaking after announcing his squad, Southgate said: “We’ve watched every game, the key as we move forward is going to be the physical intensity of the league, because of the heat as well, whether that is going to allow him to perform at the level we need.

“Clearly the level of the league is changing all the time, lots of countries are going to have this issue. Portugal have got a few players there so I’m sure they are going to be playing international football still.”

On the decision to select Henderson despite moving to Saudi Arabia and their lack of LGBTQ+ rights, Southgate said: “I think we are supportive of the LGBT+ community, a large number of the team and staff have either relatives or friends from that community.

<em>Henderson could add to his 77 England caps next month (John Walton/PA)</em>” /><span class=

“We have tried to be very supportive but I also accept members of the community felt let down. You have to live your life as you see fit, I can only speak on personal level and what the team represents and I try to be accepting of all cultures and understanding of everyone in different positions.

“If there is a feeling we haven’t done enough we have to accept that position, but it is not intentional, but these are all very complex situations that we are trying to do our best to navigate.”

The England boss said the door was still open for Sterling to earn a way back into his thoughts and tipped the 82-cap winger to continue his fine start to the campaign.

<em>There was no room for Raheem Sterling in Southgate’s squad (John Walton/PA)</em>” /><span class=

He said: “He was not available for the last two and of course that has given other people the opportunity to play well and establish themselves in the group, it is a difficult call and Raheem isn’t particularly happy about it – I’m convinced he will have a good season at Chelsea, I’ve no doubt about that.”

Southgate said of Maguire’s inclusion: “We have lost a lot of experienced players with caps at centre-half, we are giving some less experienced players the opportunity to come into the squad but unfortunately it looks like Tyrone (Mings) is out for the season, (John) Stones is out for this camp, Eric Dier hasn’t been in the Tottenham squad.

“There is a space there and I think for these two games it is important we have some experience in that place of the pitch.”

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