Jordan Henderson has earned plenty of plaudits for his stellar performance for England in their first match of the World Cup (a 2-1 victory over Tunisia), and his latest comments are sure to endear him further to fans of the Three Lions.
England play Panama this Sunday and could secure qualification to the knockout rounds with a win, but they'll be without midfielder Dele Alli, who picked up a thigh injury in the win over Tunisia on Monday. Alli sustained the injury midway in the first half, but battled on and was later substituted in the second half.
Referencing Alli's injury, Henderson admitted that players disguising injuries in order to stay on the pitch in big matches can be an issue - yet if he were in that position, he'd fight to stay on as well.
“You know as a player when an injury is bad enough you have to come off,” said Henderson, via the Mirror. “But I’m one of the worst, wanting to battle through, but if it’s affecting performance the manager and staff will be able to see.
“You have to be careful and know in your own body when it’s serious enough to put your hand up and come off.”
Manager Southgate added, jokingly: “Normally Hendo plays through and I get an angry call from Jurgen (Klopp) saying: ‘Why the hell didn’t you take him off?’”
Henderson, 28, enjoyed a fantastic season with Liverpool, but is now focused on England at the World Cup and remains optimistic about the team and their chances moving forward.
“We have got a lot of belief in the squad because of the players we have got. They are fantastic players. We are a close group and I think that takes us a long way.
“Without talking about it too much, we’ve ultimately got to do it on the pitch and we managed to do that in the first game and are hoping to do it again to get us through to the knock-out stages.”
England will hope for no further injuries on Sunday afternoon - as well as better officiating - as they were denied what appeared to be certain penalties in their match against Tunisia. Southgate noted that FA technical director Dan Ashworth had written to FIFA refereeing chiefs to seek clarification on certain points regarding VAR.