England have confirmed Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez will miss their final Euro 2020 qualification game against Kosovo on Sunday.
Gareth Southgate’s men have already confirmed their spot in next year’s competition following their 7-0 win over Montenegro on Thursday and will be looking to close the campaign off with a win.
But they will have to do so without Henderson and Gomez who have both returned to Melwood after pulling out of the squad through injury.
Why are Gomez and Henderson out? Five things to know…
- Joe Gomez and Jordan Henderson have pulled out of England’s squad to face Kosovo on Sunday.
- The pair were expected to start as England look to finish Group A on a high.
- Henderson missed the 7-0 win over Montenegro on Thursday due to a viral infection which has not cleared.
- Meanwhile, Gomez picked up a knee injury in training.
- England have won Group A, qualifying for Euro 2020, but may need to beat Kosovo to secure a place as one of six top seeds.
Henderson missed the win over Montenegro with a viral infection that had affected his playing time at Liverpool before the international break and he’s not recovered in time to feature against Kosovo.
Gomez, meanwhile, was a second-half substitute on Thursday and had been expected to start on Sunday after qualification was confirmed. The centre-back’s arrival on the Wembley pitch was greeted with boos following his part in a fall out with Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling, who had been dropped for the win as a result.
After the game, Southgate spoke out against those at Wembley who booed Gomez, telling reporters: “No I don’t understand it, because no England player should ever be booed.
“We’re a team and Joe has done nothing wrong, I’ve made that clear earlier in the week.
“So I don’t understand that. Him and Raheem are very close and the whole team are very close so we don’t want to see anybody treated in that way.”
However, he too will miss the Kosovo game having picked up an injury in training, reportedly as a result of a challenge from Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier.
“Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez will miss England’s final UEFA EURO 2020 qualifier in Kosovo on Sunday,” a statement released by England read.
“Henderson arrived in camp with a viral infection that has not fully cleared. Meanwhile, his Liverpool team-mate Gomez sustained a knock in training on Friday and has not recovered sufficiently enough to travel.
“The pair now returned to their club meaning the Three Lions will head to Pristina on Saturday with a 23-man squad.”
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How could England line up vs Kosovo?
Against Montenegro on Thursday, Southgate named England’s youngest ever starting XI in a World Cup or European Champions match – including both finals and qualifiers – with an average age of 23 years and 255 days.
Although top spot in Group A is already secured, England may need a win in Kosovo to be certain of their place in Pot 1 for the Euro 2020 draw – as only six of the 10 qualifying group winners will be in the top seeds.
But that might not stop Southgate from testing out a new XI, giving younger players a run out without disrespecting Kosovo who did score three goals at St Mary’s in October.
Southgate has already confirmed Sterling will feature in Kosovo and it’s likely the winger would start, potentially alongside Kane and one of Jadon Sancho or Callum Hudson-Odoi – the latter having already started for his country prior to an ankle injury.
There could also be starts at centre-back for Tyrone Mings and Fikayo Tomori, which would tie the Chelsea centre-back to England amid constant links of a switch to Nigeria. James Maddison is another who could be handed his first start having come on for his senior debut on Thursday and impressing in his short time on the pitch.