Gareth Southgate backs Mason Mount and Declan Rice to replace Jordan Henderson in England’s midfield

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Gareth Southgate backs ‘intelligent’ Mason Mount and Declan Rice to replace injured Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson in England midfield for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers

  • The English manager Southgate is happy with his midfield despite Henderson’s injury
  • The Liverpool captain is doubtful for this summer’s European Championship
  • Mount and Declan Rice could therefore form England’s engine room against Albania
  • Defender Harry Maguire believes England is a better team now than in 2018

England manager Gareth Southgate is happy with his options in midfield despite Jordan Henderson’s absence.

Liverpool captain Henderson could be in doubt for this summer’s European Championship due to a groin injury.

Mason Mount and Declan Rice could therefore form England’s engine room in Albania in Sunday’s second World Cup qualifier.

England boss Gareth Southgate is happy with the options in midfield despite Henderson's absence

England boss Gareth Southgate is happy with the options in midfield despite Henderson’s absence

Liverpool captain Henderson could be a doubt for this summer's European Championship

Liverpool captain Henderson could be a doubt for this summer's European Championship

Liverpool captain Henderson could be a doubt for this summer’s European Championship

Chelsea playmaker Mount and West Ham midfielder Rice have been close friends since they were young.

“They did really well in the game we played against Iceland,” Southgate said at his pre-game press conference.

Obviously that deeper position Mason is not playing for his club, but I think it is possible for him. He is a very intelligent player, he can play four, eight or ten. I think he can adapt to his liking.

There is no doubt that the balance between the two is good. Even so, James Ward-Prowse was good (against San Marino) the other day and Kalvin Phillips is also in great shape.

Mason Mount (pictured) could therefore stand against Albania in England's engine room

Mason Mount (pictured) could therefore stand against Albania in England's engine room

Mason Mount (pictured) could therefore stand against Albania in England’s engine room

“It’s an area on the field where we’re starting to get some options. It was great to have Jude (Bellingham) with us too. Like almost every position on the field, we have a lot of competition for places. ‘

Manchester City’s attacking midfielder Phil Foden could also get another chance to impress.

Southgate added: “He’s just a really good player; very exciting, a player intelligent in his positioning. He has the ability to catch the ball under pressure and take players out of play with his tight control.

‘He has a good range. And most importantly, he really has an eye for purpose and hunger to score. ‘

The Three Lions will be without Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford due to a foot injury.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice (pictured) is also a favorite for England

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice (pictured) is also a favorite for England

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice (pictured) is also a favorite for England

But Southgate said: ‘We’ve only had Marcus a game and a half this season, so it’s an opportunity for others.

“We saw Jesse Lingard come in again. We are a little short on options to refresh the team, but the attacking players are very exciting. They are in good shape and I look forward to seeing them play again. ‘

Defender Harry Maguire believes England are now a better team than when they reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018.

“I think in the three years we’ve developed we’ve worked more tactically, the experience of the big tournament, the highs and lows,” said the Manchester United center-back.

‘We have to take that experience with us to the upcoming tournaments. I’m sure that will help us. As a player and as a team, three years is of course a long time to develop and we have developed in a positive way. ‘

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