Jordan Henderson relieved fears of an ongoing ankle injury as he played the full 90 minutes in England’s 5-0 thrashing of the Czech Republic of Friday.
The Liverpool captain missed the 2-1 win at Fulham after limping off just 13 minutes into the 3-1 victory over Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp was positive over Henderson’s fitness after taking three points at Craven Cottage, saying “in three or four days he should be fine,” but there remained concerns over his availability.
But the 28-year-old was named in Gareth Southgate’s starting lineup at Wembley, lasting the entire game and producing an impressive midfield showing.
Raheem Sterling took headline billing, with the ex-Liverpool winger furthering his reputation as a genuine world-class player with a hat-trick past a hapless Jiri Pavlenka.
It takes a lot for Sterling to receive widespread praise from the English media, and it was remarkable to see the Telegraph focus on Jesse Lingard’s prospects of getting back into the side at full-time.
But it was a performance worthy of plaudits, as he shone alongside Jadon Sancho and Harry Kane in Southgate’s forward line.
For Henderson, it was interesting to see him take up a more advanced role in the middle of the park in the opening stage prior to Eric Dier’s injury, as he has when deployed next to Fabinho for Liverpool this season.
Transitioning back into his familiar No. 6 role on the withdrawal of Dier, it was almost disappointing to see Henderson restricted, as it is his energy and tenacity in the opposition’s half that makes him most useful.
England play Montenegro in Podgorica next on Tuesday evening, and it could be that Henderson keeps his place for the Three Lions’ second Euro 2020 qualifier.
Provided he avoids another injury in that game, he can give Klopp another option against Tottenham at the end of the month, but Mauricio Pochettino could now be without Dier for the trip to Anfield.
Elsewhere on Friday, Rhys Williams make his debut for the England U18s, but he and another starter, Bobby Duncan, were unable to help their side to a positive result, losing 1-0 to the Czech Republic.
Curtis Jones came off the substitutes’ bench in Dubai, while Vitezslav Jaros was again absent for the opposition due to injury, with a Michal Szewieczek goal enough to seal defeat for the Young Lions.