Parker concerns increase England chances of ex-Sunderland man Henderson

Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson

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JORDAN HENDERSON’S chances of appearing at Euro 2012 have increased further after concerns emerged over Scott Parker’s participation in Poland and Ukraine.

East Herrington-born Henderson was yesterday drafted into the England squad as a replacement for Frank Lampard, who was ruled out of the tournament with a thigh injury.

Lampard was the second central midfielder England have lost in the last seven days after Gareth Barry sustained a stomach problem in the friendly win against Norway last weekend.

The midfield problems could get worse, with concern in the England camp over Parker.

Parker may have overcome the Achilles injury that ruled him out of Tottenham’s final four games.

But it has been noted the 31-year-old is operating below the levels he produced at Spurs before the turn of the year and there is a serious concern about whether he can reach his peak for the Group D opener against France in Donetsk on June 11.

That could open the door for former Sunderland midfielder Henderson despite the 21-year-old enduring a difficult first season at Liverpool following last summer’s £19million switch from the Stadium of Light.

Parker and Steven Gerrard are expected to start tomorrow’s friendly with Belgium in midfield though and after recent events, Roy Hodgson can only cross his fingers and hope no further injuries befall his squad.

“It’s a huge blow for the team, especially coming after the loss of another senior player in Gareth Barry,” said Hodgson of Lampard’s departure.

“The fact that the doctor cannot guarantee Frank could take part in any of the group matches means we have to replace him in the central midfield area.

“Apart from it being a huge blow to me and the team, I’m especially disappointed for Frank himself.

“He has been in very good form and was looking forward to the tournament.

“He made a huge contribution towards us qualifying for the Euros so it is cruel to be forced out through injury just before the tournament.”

Other than Henderson, Hodgson’s only other options are Phil Jones, who occupied a central midfield berth in England’s momentous win over Spain at Wembley in November, and Manchester City’s James Milner, who tends to occupy wider positions.

Long-term, the news could have severe consequences for Lampard’s entire international career.

He will be 36 by the time the next World Cup reaches its conclusion and with the likes of Jack Wilshere, Jack Rodwell, Tom Cleverley all keen to pursue their international careers, Lampard’s place in the squad to face Moldova and Ukraine next September in the first round of qualifiers cannot be guaranteed.