Jordan Henderson should be afraid. Very afraid.
Not only have Liverpool packed their squad with midfield options this summer which call into doubt the Reds captain’s long-term future on Merseyside, he’s also had to endure a predictable chasing while being outnumbered in England’s centre-mid against the remnants of Spain’s tiki-taka tormentors.
And now, worst of all, there are troubling signs this week he’s starting to be damned with the faintest praise possible for a midfielder.
Take it away Danny Gabbidon:
People who have played the game who still don’t understand Jordan Henderson, what he is and the importance of the role he plays. ???♂️
— Daniel Gabbidon (@Gabbidon35) September 4, 2018
If anyone is suddenly having flashbacks to the mid-to-late-noughties, when “Michael Carrick doesn’t get the credit for all the stuff he does” somehow curdled into him being the Andrea Pirlo England never picked, then apologies, but for Hendo’s sake we want to raise the issue now, before anyone gets hurt.
If this opinion spreads any further we could see the Liverpool skipper suddenly disappear from Southgate’s squads completely, and who knows, maybe Stevie G and Lamps’ll pull back on the white shirt – Gareth Barry’s still playing isn’t he? – and we’ll all have to live with the “Jordan could’ve been Gerson to Kyle Walker’s Carlos Alberto” takes for the rest of our lives.
Not that everyone’s falling into the trap.
The England press corps reacted to the defeat with an insight that was fresh about 25 years ago.
— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) September 8, 2018
— Times Sport (@TimesSport) September 10, 2018
Wrote this after #eng's World Cup exit about lacking a Modric-type playmaker. Substitute him for Thiago tonight and here was another reminder. Not this team's fault they don't possess a player in that mould but big challenge for Southgate to address.https://t.co/W35SBCMafs
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) September 8, 2018
‘We wonder if Southgate’s looked down the back of the sofa – you can find the strangest things down there – or had a look at the City youth team?
What England don’t lack is exciting, pacey attackers, but they really must do better:
? You've got to admit, Marcus Rashford does need to improve his finishing. Raheem Sterling would get slated if he missed this many chances!#ENGESP
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) September 8, 2018
It really is a pity that Rashford isn’t getting the kind of abuse his England team mate’s got, isn’t it?
Hmmm, perhaps not.
If only Harry Kane found himself in goal scoring positions to miss chances, maybe he’d be getting the stick instead?
Though the lasting memory we’ll take from the evening is Danny Welbeck being denied a goal for a routine infringement that results in free-kicks being awarded every single time it happens.
One thing we’ve learned:
1. It’s not only in terms of footballers that Dutch football is deteriorating. Their refereeing is rubbish too.#ENGSPA
— Matt Scott (@Matt5cott) September 8, 2018
.@VMSportIE The best team won but the referee has had a shocker… Welbeck’s goal should have stood… Cracking game.. Intensity, passion , drama! Why didn’t someone invent the Nations League earlier⚽️?? England 1-2 Spain⚽️
— Chris Sutton (@chris_sutton73) September 8, 2018
While a playmaker may still be missing, there’s always a ref to blame.