Jermaine Pennant will throw something through TV if he sees Jordan Henderson play for England

Jordan Henderson shouldn’t be in consideration to face Belgium on Tuesday night – the stage is set for Kobbie Mainoo.

That is according to ex-Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, who has called on manager Gareth Southgate to start the Manchester United teenager at Wembley.


Henderson has been a mainstay in Southgate’s England squadCredit: Getty

The 18-year-old is in line to feature against the Red Devils at the Home of Football – live on talkSPORT – after making his senior debut vs Brazil on Saturday.

And Pennant has argued it should be him that starts alongside Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham, declaring there would be ‘uproar’ if Henderson was selected instead.

Insisting that Southgate already knows about the Ajax maestro’s talent, and with it only being a friendly against Belgium, Pennant claimed Mainoo is deserving of a chance to show his class.

Discussing England’s arsenal of talent in midfield on the Sports Bar, Pennant said: “If I see Henderson, something is going through the TV.”

Co-host Jason Cundy then remarked: “I have got a feeling – Southgate is a creature of habit – it would not surprise me at all if you see Henderson.”

Interjecting, Pennant stated: “Oh there would be uproar.”

It led Cundy to say: “OK fine, but let’s see how it goes. I feel as though Mainoo could tick a lot of boxes – his age doesn’t bother me.”

Pennant replied: “This is why this is the perfect scenario, it’s not a qualifier, it’s not in the Euros, it’s a friendly.

Pennant believes Mainoo deserves the chance to start against Belgium on Tuesday night


Pennant believes Mainoo deserves the chance to start against Belgium on Tuesday nightCredit: Getty

“So if he can handle this and play as he’s been playing for Man United, then you go, ‘Right, another little experience for him, perfect, just what you want from these young players.’

“Rather than putting Henderson there who is a veteran who we know what we’re going to get, he’s not going to be exciting, it just doesn’t make any sense.”

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Henderson, who left Liverpool last summer, has never let England down during his 81 caps, and has been a regular in the team under Southgate.

Even after he moved to Saudi Arabia to link up with Al Nassr in a controversial transfer, Southgate kept his faith in the 33-year-old – naming him in his squads for September and October.

Speaking to talkSPORT in August, the Three Lions boss revealed he would remain in his plans, despite the drop down in quality.

He said: “I spoke to him in the summer, the question he wanted to know was ‘if I move here, are you going to automatically rule me out?’

“We would be stupid to do that. Why would we rule anyone out based on where they are playing? We have got to see how they are playing.”

Henderson eventually returned to Europe in January to join Dutch giants Ajax, where he has impressed.

Such is his influence on the team, he was entrusted with the captain’s armband in just his fourth game.

It’s not just Henderson and Mainoo that are battling for a starting spot alongside Rice and Bellingham, with Cole Palmer and Conor Gallagher two other serious contenders.


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