Harry Maguire has returned to training before England’s Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday, raising hopes that the defender will be able to play during the group stage.
The Manchester United centre-back has not played since damaging ankle ligaments on 9 May and Gareth Southgate has been unable to put a timeframe on his return. Maguire resumed running only last week and he remains unlikely to play when England face Croatia in Group D at Wembley.
Having worked on his rehabilitation in the gym, Maguire gave England a boost by joining his teammates in training on Thursday. The 28-year-old is one of England’s most important players and Southgate was not prepared to leave him out of his squad. The manager has also shown patience with Jordan Henderson, who has only played one half since suffering a groin injury on 20 February. Henderson hit back at his critics this week, insisting he is ready to face Croatia.
Southgate is considering whether to switch to a back three in the likely absence of Maguire. With doubts remaining over whether Tyrone Mings, Conor Coady or Ben White are ready to partner John Stones in a back four, England have trialled Luke Shaw as the left-sided centre-back in a back three in training this week.
Maguire’s injury has given Southgate a conundrum. England could line up with four full-backs if Shaw plays at centre-back against Croatia and they would also be forced to drop one of their creative players.
Southgate was unable to offer any assurances last week over Maguire featuring before the knockout phase. However signs that Maguire is making good progress means that he could be in contention for England’s games against Scotland next Friday and the Czech Republic on 22 June.
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