Jordan Henderson could be set for a big step in his return from injury, as England find themselves short in midfield for tonight’s clash with the Czech Republic.
It has now been confirmed that both Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell will be required to self-isolate for 10 days after coming into contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who has tested positive for COVID-19.
This is a strange situation for the Euros, but has been provided for with the expansion of squads from 23 players to 26.
Gareth Southgate was given the freedom to risk call-ups for both Henderson and Harry Maguire as a result, and with England stuttering to a 0-0 draw with Scotland at the weekend, there are calls for the pair to now start.
Henderson could be more likely, now, with Mount absent in midfield and Southgate forced into a shakeup, with the manager confirming his senior pair will both “be involved” tonight.
“Both are training very well and both will be involved tomorrow,” he told reporters on Monday.
“We’re happy with their progress, they’ve already – without being on the pitch – had a massive impact around the training sessions, around the squad.
“So I couldn’t be happier with the way our playing group, and senior players in particular, the influence they’ve had and the impact that they’ve had.
“But of course, they want to get on the pitch and we’re hoping that they can play a big part in this tournament still for us.”
If Henderson does start, it would be his first such outing since the Merseyside derby on Febrary 20, when he suffered the groin injury that ruled him out for the remainder of the domestic season.
While in an ideal world Liverpool would have preferred their captain to stay behind and work towards full fitness in time for pre-season, his involvement at the Euros could help him back to sharpness in time for the new campaign.
England have had problems in midfield in their two group games so far, particularly with the marginal role of Declan Rice as No. 6, which is where Henderson would likely be fielded.
Moreover, while Kalvin Phillips shone against Croatia, he looked leggy and out of sorts in the follow-up draw with Scotland, and with Mount also absent, a reshuffle could be required.
Jurgen Klopp will be watching on intently, as the 31-year-old Henderson makes a hopefully positive first foray back into competitive football, with a view to hitting the ground running again when 2021/22 begins.