Jordan Henderson has been labelled as “selfish” for not withdrawing from England’s squad due to his prolonged injury absence.
The Liverpool skipper has been out of action since suffering a groin injury in February and remained on the sidelines for the Three Lions’ penultimate warm-up friendly vs Austria.
Reports had claimed Gareth Southgate was keen for the central midfielder to get some minutes at the Riverside, only to miss out after feeling some discomfort.
It leaves the 30-year-old facing a race against time to be fit for the Euro 2020 opener against Croatia next week.
Southgate opted to include both Henderson and Harry Maguire in his 26-man squad, despite both carrying injuries.
But ex-Aston Villa captain Gabriel Agbonlahor has claimed that Henderson is being selfish by remaining in the squad and should instead forfeit his place to one of the players on the standby list.
“The thing that is really winding me up is the Henderson thing,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT. “I think he is being selfish. If you look at it, the squad has been announced and he told Southgate this morning (Wednesday) that he is not fit today.
“They said the scans have come back and they’re fine, and he knows himself that there is a niggle he is feeling.”
Agbonlahor believes that Henderson now must be honest with the England boss or face a scenario where he could be injured minutes into the tournament.
He added: “The tournament starts in 10 days, you are playing against Croatia, playing against a good, good team.
“You need to be at it, you need a training session before the game, you need some games in you.
Was Southgate right to include Jordan Henderson in England’s squad? Comment below
“Even for Henderson, he should just be honest with the manager now and say ‘you know what I am struggling here, I’m a leader and a captain in myself, I’ll do the right thing for the squad, I’m not fit and it might reoccur if I do get better for the second game’.”
Asked if it was a risk to include the injured duo, Southgate suggested that anything they got from them this summer will be a “bonus”.
“Normally we’d only have 23 and we’ve got three additional players,” he explained. “We’re realistic about what might be possible for those guys, we’re not picking them with anything in mind other than it will be a bonus if we get them for the games we think we might.
“Therefore, we’re covered in those positions and balanced the squad out in case we don’t have them.”
Southgate continued: “Their leadership, influence and possibility we can have them with us we feel was a big factor for the group.
“We’ve got a lot of young players, so to have two experienced players, two captains of their club, was a very important thing for us.”