Southgate drops Sterling, picks Henderson


Jordan Henderson was named on Thursday in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for matches against Ukraine and Scotland despite his move from Liverpool to Saudi club Al-Ettifaq.

Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire is also included in the 26-man squad despite being out of favour at Old Trafford but there is no place for in-form Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling.

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

Henderson’s move to Al-Ettifaq led to questions over his international career while former United captain 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.

Midfielder Henderson, 33, opted to leave Liverpool for the Saudi Pro League in July and Southgate admits he has some concerns.

“We’ve watched every game,” he said. “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.”

Speaking about Maguire’s inclusion, Southgate said: “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.”

Southgate said the door was still open for Sterling, who has 82 caps, to earn a way back, adding that other players had established themselves in his absence from recent matches.

“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.”

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