Declan Rice has lauded his ‘world class’ international teammate, Jordan Henderson, whom he is ‘praying’ will be fit in time for this summer’s European Championships.
Henderson, 30, has been ruled out until mid-late April after surgery on a groin injury.
Liverpool have not put a timescale on his return but have ruled him out until after the March international break, at least.
The Athletic reported back in February that they expect Henderson to be out for six to eight weeks.
With the European Championships approaching this summer, Southgate recently provided an update on the fitness of the Liverpool captain.
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“We know it’s going to be close to the end of the season and we will just have to see how it goes,” he said.
“We are conscious that with any injury of that nature, there is a guide and a time defined but that anything can happen along the way.
“In terms of promises, we can only say that Hendo himself is very optimistic about how the operation went and the prognosis that the specialist has given him as to what is possible.
“We also know he is likely to be a bit short of match minutes in high-level games.
“There are a lot of things to take into consideration but, at the moment, that is a decision that is a few weeks away.”
Rice on Henderson
Rice, too, has reiterated how important Henderson will be if England are to win silverware this summer.
The West Ham captain believes Henderson’s experience and leadership skills are needed amongst a squad that is littered with young and upcoming talent.
Speaking with talkSPORT, he said: “I’m praying that he’s fit for the Euros and comes through this groin injury because if he wasn’t there, we’d miss him massively.
“He’s a top player, world-class player. He’s won the top trophies. He’s been at the big tournaments. He knows what to do. On the pitch, you feel his experience, his leadership.”
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Henderson’s experience of winning major honours is what sets him apart from a number of his international colleagues.
Only Raheem Sterling and John Stones have experienced what it’s like to dominate and continuously win at the top-level.
In a group of relatively inexperienced players, Henderson’s role as Liverpool captain makes him one of the most important players in the squad.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that England’s chances of winning the Euros are sufficiently damaged, should Henderson not be fit in time for this summer’s tournament.