Watching England against Germany the other night left many wondering.
It is fortunate that England won against the ‘old enemy’ before the Netherlands defeat, because the victory will probably cover over the poor performances from Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana over the course of the 180 minutes, and distract from the whinging James Milner – who is basically saying, ‘play me or I’ll quit’. Really? Are you that good?
It’s been a poor season from the three Liverpool players and each of them could be shown the Anfield exit by Jurgen Klopp this summer. He will want to make his mark on the Anfield side by bringing in his own players, so, therefore, this campaign should have been all about making a good impression, rather than offering up lazy, lacklustre displays.
With Henderson, there is still a doubt that he’s England material. He seems to need to play in a three man midfield rather than the role he plays in for Liverpool. In fairness, if he’s played out of position, then we won’t see the best of the player, but the biggest asset that Henderson has is his endless running and ability to press opponents. Although it appeared that the Liverpool skipper had more freedom to operate, too many times his passes failed to find their intended target and this shows his one of his limitations. Another is his finishing – his overall impact is minimal at best, but that won’t stop Roy Hodgson taking him to France.
With Lallana, there is a distinct lack of consistency. Against Germany, it was the usual Lallana display where he flitted in and out of proceedings. He would appear to be on the list to go to the finals as one of Hodgson’s favourites, but he doesn’t do enough and there are better players that could sneak in ahead of him. Seemingly always on the periphery, there’s no doubt he’s talented, but nothing suggested he is more than a fringe player in the squad. The England man did play a part in Jamie Vardy’s equaliser against the Netherlands, though, moving the ball quickly to the on-rushing Kyle Walker, before being rightly substituted for Everton’s Ross Barkley midway through the second-half. Lallana is a baffling player and virtually impossible to fathom.
Milner on the other hand seems to have all but disappeared from the headlines at Liverpool. After his outburst in the past few days concerning playing for England, it would appear that Hodgson has placated Milner by handing him the captain’s armband.
His out-of-sorts performances could be down to fulfilling a variety roles for both club and country, from full-back to winger to central midfield. The versatile Liverpool player has more caps than anyone in Hodgson’s party, aside from Wayne Rooney, and is likely to go to EURO 2016 as one of the Three Lions’ experienced campaigners.
However, after the EUROs, Milner wants to speak to Hodgson about his international future and whether he still has one.
Whether any of the three Liverpool players have a future is only in their hands, and they have a chance to stake a claim for a more permanent place in the first team with the upcoming games. As with all things, nothing is set in stone and with the younger players coming through and the likes of Mark Noble still knocking, no one can take anything for granted.
No matter who you are and how many caps you have.