Southgate puzzled by Henderson penalty decision: 'We will pull rank next time'

By Sports Desk June 06, 2021

England manager Gareth Southgate seemed unimpressed by Jordan Henderson's decision to take a penalty – which he ultimately missed – off Dominic Calvert-Lewin in Sunday's 1-0 win over Romania.

The Three Lions were in action for the last time ahead of Euro 2020, with England set to face Croatia at Wembley next Sunday.

Marcus Rashford scored the winning goal with a cool spot-kick after the excellent Jack Grealish had been hauled down.

But Henderson, a half-time substitute, was unable to follow suit as Romania goalkeeper Florin Nita saved his penalty late on following a clumsy Vlad Chiriches foul on Calvert-Lewin.

The Everton striker was expected to take the kick, but Henderson – playing for the first time in 106 days – stepped up as he looked to score his first senior England goal.

His failure was not punished by Romania, though Southgate suggested he will be having words with Henderson.

"We had Marcus Rashford on penalties, then James Ward-Prowse but both came off," Southgate explained to ITV.

"I was expecting Dominic to take it and when Hendo walked over I thought he was making sure that happened, so I will have to check Hendo's thought process."

When it was put to Southgate that Henderson had pulled rank as captain, Southgate replied with a smile: "We will pull rank next time."

Otherwise it was a largely unremarkable match and performance from England, who were perhaps fortunate to get their victory such were the quality of some of the Romanian chances.

"Yes, we had chances to make it more comfortable but so did they, the first half we did not work hard enough without the ball, we were too stretched and did not press well," Southgate added.

"After half-time, I thought we improved and it was helpful. We went to 4-3-3 later and I have to say it was a good exercise, players needed the minutes and learned a lot from the game. It was good to win."

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