Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has handed England a boost by declaring there are no doubts over midfielder Jordan Henderson being fit for Euro 2016.
However, he has set his captain a deadline of May 15 – their last league match at West Brom – to prove his fitness in order to be considered for Liverpool’s Europa League final against Sevilla the following Wednesday.
That deadline will also apply to Belgian striker Divock Origi, currently sidelined with ankle ligament damage.
Henderson injured lateral collateral knee ligaments during the quarter-final first leg draw with Borussia Dortmund on April 7 and was ruled out for up to eight weeks.
That put his availability for Roy Hodgson’s squad – which he selects next week – in serious doubt, but Klopp insists Henderson will be ready in time for the tournament in France.
“I don’t know exactly but he was really celebrating yesterday after the game,” said Klopp, the day after Liverpool beat Villarreal in their European semi-final.
“I saw in his eyes he thinks he has a chance (of being fit for the final), so that’s the first and most important step in the right direction.
“To play in the final on the Wednesday after the season, I think the latest moment – after a long break – when you should be available is the Sunday before.
“But Hendo is in a really good way so it’s good for England. There’s no doubt about being fit for the European Championship.
“The same with Divock Origi but we will see. I have no idea, to be honest.”
Hodgson should also be able to select a fit and in-form Daniel Sturridge after the striker scored his fifth goal in his last seven matches.
The 26-year-old is likely to be rested for Sunday’s visit of Watford but Klopp is delighted with the progress Sturridge has made since returning to fitness after a hip operation last May.
“It’s not about being careful,” added Klopp.
“All together, with Daniel involved, we have done everything we could to make him as fit as possible and now he is at the highest level.
“That’s really perfect news I think for England and the European Championship.
“We have tried to do our best with and around him. He does the same in the sessions and on the pitch so there is nothing negative with resting (him).”
Striker Danny Ings has been in training for over a week now after making his return from cruciate knee ligament surgery in October.
He has yet to play a competitive match under Klopp, who had just a couple of sessions with the England international before he was injured in training, and the German is taking his time with the 23-year-old despite the player’s obvious keenness for a comeback.
“I don’t know (when he will return) but I am pretty sure Danny wants it,” said Klopp.
“He was in training and in Germany we have a word that means ‘early shape’ – he came back into training after a long break at the highest level.
“He is a good striker; I knew this before but now I have seen it. In this moment, it makes no sense (to take a risk) – we have all these fit players.
“If we have the opportunity, if there is a chance, we will do it, but we will not force it, we will not push it, we will not press it.
“Danny’s time will come – 100 per cent.
“If there is an opportunity this season we will do it, but if not then he has a long pre-season, which is brilliant for him and for us, then he will be available next season.”