LONDON — Moving to Saudi Arabia hasn't stopped Jordan Henderson getting called up by England.
The former Liverpool captain was included in the 26-man squad on Thursday for upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland even though he plays for Al-Ettifaq as one of the growing number of top players to take lucrative sums of money in the oil-rich kingdom.
England coach Gareth Southgate said he was monitoring Henderson's displays to see if the Saudi Pro League “is going to allow him to perform at the level we need.”
“We have watched every game,” Southgate said. “The key as we move forward is going to be the physical intensity of the league.
“We’ve got to assess where he is going to sit in terms of our squad and map him against other players. It's not as easy when you are not playing in Champions League games or Premier League games.”
Harry Maguire will also be seen as a contentious selection by Southgate because the center back hasn't played a single minute in any of Manchester United's first three games in the Premier League.
England is short of top-class alternatives in central defense, earning Maguire a reprieve for the moment. John Stones and Tyrone Mings are center backs who are currently out injured.
Similarly, holding midfielder Kalvin Phillips got the call from Southgate even though he remains out of favor at Manchester City.
“It's not a good situation that those guys aren't playing football,” Southgate said, “but in certain positions we have a lot of depth and in others we don't.”
Raheem Sterling missed out for the third straight squad selection despite a return to form at Chelsea but there were first call-ups for Chelsea defender Levi Colwill and Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah.
Liverpool right back Trent Alexander-Arnold was selected as a midfielder.
England takes on Ukraine in a European Championship qualifier in Poland on Sept. 9 before playing a friendly in Scotland three days later.
England has won all four of its Euro 2024 qualifiers so far in Group C and leads by six points from Ukraine, which has played only three games.
Goalkeepers: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace).
Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal).
Forwards: Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Newcastle).