LIVERPOOL captain Jordan Henderson has been labelled a 'cheerleader' in England's Euro 2020 squad by former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O'Hara.
The 30-year-old has not played any football since picking up a groin injury in February but was still included in Gareth Southgate's final 26-man squad for the upcoming European Championships.
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Southgate had hoped Henderson could feature against Austria in the first of two warm-up matches earlier this week, but a niggle ended up ruling him out.
It now appears touch and go whether the Reds midfielder will be fit for the first group game against Croatia in eight days time, with his only other opportunity for minutes before the Euros coming on Sunday night against Romania.
And O'Hara feels if Henderson is not going to be fit for the tournament then he should not have been picked in the first place.
He told talkSPORT : “What are we doing, as a country, taking injured players? You can’t take players to major tournaments who aren’t fit.
“We don’t need cheerleaders, we need players. And we need players who will make a difference.
“At the moment, we’ve got cheerleaders. We’ve got Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson.
“Great players, love them both. If they’re fit, they start. If you ain’t fit, you can’t go mate! Simple as that.”
Henderson returned to full training on Saturday, 24 hours ahead of the Romania game.
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When asked about the Liverpool man after the Austria match, Southgate said: “I don’t think it would be fair to rule him out of [the first game against Croatia] but I think it’s clear to everyone how much football he’s missed.
“The timelines are getting more difficult with each training session he might miss. But I’m being very realistic about what’s possible here.
“It’s a decision we took [to select Henderson] because we have been able to take extra players and we feel he is such an important influence around the place.
“If we can get him close to being able to contribute on the pitch against Croatia that will be a real bonus at the moment.”
If Henderson is ruled out of the Croatia clash next weekend, Southgate will likely go for Kalvin Phillips or Jude Bellingham as his replacement in the starting line-up.
The England boss also has to address Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire's fitness as he looks set to miss the start of the tournament through injury.
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