After Gareth Southgate named his 26-man England squad for this summer’s European Championship, there were plenty of points of discussion – most notably Trent Alexander-Arnold’s last gasp and a string of fitness issues for key players.
Southgate have named both Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson in their roster, but the Liverpool captain is unlikely to play in the opening game against Croatia, while Maguire is still trying to get fit again.
Henderson has not played since February after sustaining a groin injury for the Reds against Everton, while Manchester United centre-back Maguire is currently sidelined with an ankle injury and was recently on crutches.
Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson remains an injury concern for England ahead of the European Championship
Harry Maguire recently walked on crutches and is in a race against time to get fit again
Southgate was dealt another blow on Wednesday night when Alexander-Arnold suffered a thigh injury in a friendly against Austria, putting him out of the tournament entirely.
Former England and United centre-back Rio Ferdinand criticized Maguire’s inclusion earlier this week, claiming it was ‘not accurate’.
“I’ve been in squads with players who weren’t fit and they don’t perform when they’re not themselves,” said Ferdinand. FIVE. ‘It happened to Becks’ [Beckham] and Wazza [Rooney]. As good as Maguire is, he is not Becks or Wazza.
“I don’t think you should take someone who isn’t 100 percent fit. It’s hard to come back and get into a rhythm.
“That story eventually takes over the squad and it becomes the conversation and a distraction. Do we really need that? It’s pointless I think. Hopefully he proves me wrong, I’d love it if he did.’
So following Ferdinand’s strong opinion on the matter, Sports post has decided to look back at how injured English stars have fared at major tournaments (including Beckham and Rooney) and whether it was the right decision to take them.
BRYAN ROBSON – 1986
First, let’s go back to 1986 and Robson’s nightmare experience at the World Cup in Mexico.
Injuries had ruined Robson’s campaign for Manchester United during the 1985-96 season, and less than three months before the World Cup was due to start, the Red Devils captain had again dislocated his shoulder – an injury he had sustained just 14 months earlier.
There was a spat between club and country when England wanted him to undergo surgery so that he would be fully fit for the World Cup but United said no as they needed their captaincy for the title race.
Bryan Robson was plagued with a shoulder injury in the run-up to and at the 1986 World Cup
Robson would soon return for United, but more injury problems would follow and he sat out the season finale. However, he was on the plane with the England squad on its way to Mexico.
But painfully, England’s worst fears became reality when Robson’s existing shoulder injury aggravated again in the second game of the group stage against Morocco.
The injury prevented Robson from continuing in the flagship tournament and England were eventually knocked out by Argentina in the quarter-finals, in a match that is remembered to this day for Diego Maradona’s moment of madness and magic…
DAVID BECKHAM – 2002
Now we look back at Beckham’s injury roller coaster that gripped the country as it progressed to the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
Beckham, then the captain of Three Lions, was on the receiving end of a reckless challenge when Man United faced Deportivo La Coruna in the Champions League in April 2002.
Beckham suffered a broken metatarsal bone and his World Cup entry just months later was heavily questioned.
David Beckham suffered a broken metatarsal bone in the run-up to the 2002 World Cup
Despite his doubts about his injury, Beckham played most of the 2002 World Cup in England
The injury prevented the English midfielder from playing for United for the rest of the 2001-02 season, but he was still considered fit enough by Three Lions boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Despite a seven-week absence, Beckham played England’s first game of the tournament against Sweden before finally being substituted around the hour due to lack of match fitness.
In the next match, against Argentina, Beckham scored a spot kick that is still fondly remembered to this day as England finished 1-0 winners.
Beckham would start every game for England before being dumped out of the World Cup by eventual champions Brazil in the quarter-finals – with Ronaldinho scoring the winning goal.
JOHN TERRY – 2004
Chelsea captain and centre-back Terry himself had trouble leading to the 2004 European Championship in Portugal.
Terry’s Euro hope was dealt a blow when he injured his hamstring in a warm-up game against Japan.
As a result, the English defender sat out the first game of the European Championship against France, but was immediately back in the starting lineup against Switzerland.
The Chelsea skipper then started the rest of the games before England were eventually knocked out by Portugal in a painful penalty shootout in the quarter-finals.
WAYNE RONEY – 2006
Four years after Beckham’s roller coaster ride, it was Rooney’s turn to sweat over his fitness after sustaining a metatarsal injury of his own.
Rooney suffered the heartbreaking injury in United’s defeat to Chelsea after a tackle from Paulo Ferreira.
Surprisingly, Rooney was deemed fit enough to travel to Germany with England, but he stayed out of the opening game against Paraguay.
He was then sent off to the World Cup, coming off the bench against Trinidad and Tobago before starting England’s final 2-2 draw with Sweden in England’s final group meeting.
Wayne Rooney broke his metatarsal bone while playing for Man United against Chelsea in April 2006 2006
Rooney’s World Cup campaign ended in disaster after being shown red vs Portugal
But he lacked match fitness and never really got going. He would finish goalless as England bowed again for the World Cup in the quarter-final against Portugal.
And Rooney made headlines for all the wrong reasons when England were dumped – he got an outright red card for stamping Ricardo Carvalho.
Looking back on that fateful tournament, Rooney himself admitted to the Sunday Times: “In retrospect, I should never have gone to that World Cup. Again in the same position I would exclude myself.’
MICHAEL OWEN – 2006
There were more concerns about injuries in the striker division that Eriksson had to contend with prior to the 2006 World Cup.
Like Rooney’s injury, Michael Owen missed most of the second half of the 2005-06 season with a midfoot problem following the December setback against Tottenham.
However, in a desperate attempt to prove he would be fit enough for the start of the tournament, Owen ran for the England B-team in a friendly against Belarus.
Owen apparently did enough to convince Eriksson to pick him, but things didn’t go to plan in Germany during the World Cup for the striker, who has been plagued by injuries for most of his career.
Michael Owen tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Sweden at the 2006 2006 World Cup
After starting the first two games with Rooney struggling with his midfoot problem, Owen’s World Cup campaign soon came to a shuddering halt.
In the final group game against Sweden, Owen tore his anterior cruciate ligament and was sidelined for almost a year.
And like Rooney, Owen has since admitted that traveling to Germany was not the right decision for him.
“Looking back, I might have been a fool to go to the World Cup because at the end I hadn’t played enough for Newcastle to suggest I was fit,” Owen admitted to the Chronicle in 2013.
WAYNE RONEY – 2010
Though not on the same scale as his previous injury in 2006, Rooney was again plagued with problems en route to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa – which was a disastrous campaign for England.
Just weeks before the World Cup was due to start, Rooney injured his neck during the final stages of a friendly win over Mexico at Wembley, raising concerns about his condition.
Just a month earlier, Rooney had been stricken with ankle and groin injuries that ruined United’s bid for Premier League and Champions League victory.
And when the World Cup came, Rooney was far from himself – not scoring in four games as England were knocked out by Germany in a 4-1 thrashing in the last 16 leg.
Rooney also struggled with injuries ahead of the 2010 World Cup and was far from his best
GARETH BARRY – 2010
Like Rooney, Barry was a concern for the World Cup in South Africa after suffering an ankle injury in the penultimate game of the Premier League season for Manchester City.
Then England boss Fabio Capello wanted to emphasize the importance of Barry ahead of the tournament and insisted that the midfielder bring balance to his side.
And Capello decided to choose Barry in his traveling squad, who did not live up to expectations.
Barry missed against the United States in England’s opening game and played in every other clash before the Three Lions were embarrassed by Germany in the round of 16.
JACK WILSHERE – 2016
The inclusion of Wilshere in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the Euro 2016 surprised many supporters.
There was no denying Wilshere’s talent, but injuries plagued him for the big tournament in France and it looked like he would be selected.
Wilshere had only started one game for Arsenal all season in 2015-16, but Hodgson decided to put his trust in the midfielder.
But he started just one game of the entire tournament at the European Championship, in the dull goalless draw against Slovakia in the final group match.
England were then humiliated when they were knocked out by minnows Iceland in the last 16 leg. Wilshere came into play at halftime when the Three Lions were desperate for a route back into the game, but he couldn’t make the difference.