Gareth Southgate has said he will not allow a repeat of the episode in which Jordan Henderson took penalty duties away from Dominic Calvert-Lewin during England’s 1-0 victory against Romania at the Riverside Stadium on Sunday.
On a day when a section of the crowd booed the players taking the knee before kick-off again, confusion reigned when Calvert-Lewin won his side’s second penalty.
England’s designated takers, Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse, were off the pitch at the time and Southgate was unhappy when Henderson’s spot-kick was saved after he had taked the ball off Calvert-Lewin.
“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 what happened,” England’s manager said. “We will pull rank next time.
“Marcus and James Ward-Prowse were the two nominated at the start of the game and they’d both come off. But Hendo was the captain on the field by then. He was the one to make the decision. If I was Dom as the centre-forward I might not have gone along with that so easily.”
Henderson, who came off the bench to make his first appearance since sustaining a groin injury in February, remains a huge doubt for England’s opening game against Croatia at Euro 2020. “We know the situation Hendo is in,” Southgate said.
“It’s a step forward for him physically today, which was important for him to be able to play some sort of part in the tournament and we are realistic about what that could be. We’re not hanging our hat on him being fit. If we can get him to a good level then that’s a bonus.”
Southgate, whose side won thanks to a penalty from Rashford, was unhappy with the reaction from the crowd when the teams took the knee in the fight against racism. “I sadly sort of expected what happened to happen,” he said.
“We have accepted that as a group. It’s not going to stop what we’re doing and what we believe. It’s not going to stop my support for our players and staff. We’re going to have to live with that.”
Southgate is due to name a replacement for the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold and was impressed with Ward-Prowse. “Prowsey’s professionalism and approach all week given the disappointment of being left out has been first class,” Southgate said.
“The decision won’t necessarily be about the performances today. It’s going to be positional and the area we feel we need the most cover.”