Paul Merson has labelled comments made by Roy Keane about Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson before Euro 2020 as ‘nonsense’.
The Arsenal great hailed Henderson as a ‘proper pro’ after the 31-year-old bagged his first goal in his 62-cap England career as the Three Lions beat Ukraine in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals.
England dominated in their quarter-final clash as goals from Henderson, Harry Maguire and a brace from captain Harry Kane secured their spot in the semi-finals against Denmark.
Before the start of the tournament, Keane had questioned Henderson’s inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad.
The pundit claimed Henderson’s situation was a “distraction” and asked whether he had been selected for a “sing-song”.
“It’s already a distraction for Jordan,” said Keane. “I was convinced that Jordan was going to start the other day. I know there’s talk that he’s going to come on after 45 minutes.
“But why not start him for the first 45 minutes where there is more intensity? In the second half, there will be plenty of changes. I think it’s a huge distraction. Clearly, Jordan’s not fit. I don’t think he should be involved.
“He cannot be fit. But to have not kicked a ball for three and half months then go to a European Championships. He cannot be right.
“Now, I have heard people say that they want him around the place. For what? Does he do card tricks? A sing-song? Quizzes in the evening? What does he do? If you’re Liverpool then you wouldn’t be happy either.”
The Liverpool captain has only made three appearances as a second-half substitute for the Three Lions so far in the competition but his leadership qualities and professionalism have shone both on and off the pitch.
Merson questioned Keane’s comments following Henderson’s performance in England 4-0 quarter-final in over Ukraine, praising the midfielder’s outstanding quality.
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“[Henderson’s] a proper pro, isn’t he,” said Merson on TV last night. “He’s a real professional. He has got on with it.
“He hasn’t been in the team and fair play to him. I know Roy Keane said ‘is he going because he’s playing karaoke’.
“It’s nonsense. He goes because he’s a quality player. Great for the team and he’s not a moaner. For me, outstanding.”
England will be looking to secure a place in the Euro final for the first time as they face Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday but Henderson has warned his teammates to be cautious and respect their semi-final opposition.