After battling back from injury over the last few months, fans were delighted to see Jordan Henderson back playing in an England shirt last Sunday.
Coming on as a second half substitute in the friendly win over Romania, the Wearside midfielder played 45 minutes at the Riverside Stadium. Henderson missed a penalty in the second half but it barely detracted from the occasion as he will have been happy to get minutes in the tank ahead of his fifth tournament with the senior team.
The Liverpool captain, 30, is a well respected midfielder in the game and goes to the Euros as one of England’s senior heads.
He’s the second most capped player in the squad on 59 appearances for his country sitting behind Raheem Sterling, who has 61 caps.
With plenty of experience under his belt, Henderson will have grim memories of tournaments from the past for England.
He came on as a substitute in extra time for their Euro 2012 quarter final defeat to Italy where England eventually lost on penalties.
The Italians would inflict more heartbreak on England at the World Cup two years later beating them in the group stages in Brazil with Henderson starting in the heart of midfield. The Three Lions would end up failing to qualify for the knockout stages.
At Euro 2016, Henderson only featured once as England exited the tournament after a humiliating defeat to Iceland in the last 16 which prompted manager Roy Hodgson to resign after the game.
After years of heartbreak, the 2018 World Cup was by far Henderson’s best tournament in an England shirt.
He played a pivotal role at the base of the midfield in Gareth Southgate’s side and was the assured head that marshalled the middle of the field doing the simple things to allow the likes of Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane to flourish in attack.
Ultimately, he was a big part of an England squad who reignited the love affair between cynical fans and failed England teams of the past as the Three Lions went on to reach the semi finals.
Since then, Henderson has gone on to captain Liverpool to the Champions League and the Premier League in one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.
As the 30-year-old continues to battle back to full fitness, it remains to be seen whether he earns a place in the starting XI for Euro 2020. The emergence of West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips has given Gareth Southgate alternative options.
However, his status in the game and his maturity will, no doubt, be an important cog in England’s Euro 2020 machine.