Harry Maguire has returned to England training on the eve of Euro 2020, in a major boost for the Three Lions before their tournament opener.
Manchester United will also be encouraged to see their captain back out on the training pitches at St George’s Park, as he steps up his recovery from an ankle ligament injury.
Maguire missed the climax to United’s season, playing no part in their Europa League final defeat on penalties to Villarreal — the first time he’d missed games through injury since arriving at Old Trafford in July 2019.
The 28-year-old is unlikely to be considered for England’s first game of the European Championship against Croatia on Sunday.
But the sight of him back in training alongside the likes of Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford will be good news for Gareth Southgate.
The England boss admitted he’d taken a slight risk in selecting Maguire in his 26-man squad for the tournament, but has Tyrone Mings, Ben White and Conor Coady for cover at centre-back, as well as John Stones. There has also been a suggestion United’s Luke Shaw could play in a back three in the Croatia game.
“With any injury, it’s impossible to predict 100 per cent,” Southgate said in a recent press conference. “Our medical team are pleased with his progress, particularly over the last couple of days. So we know there is always that risk, but all of the guidance is that he should be available and it’s a case of when he can slot back into training with the group and how quickly we can progress him [Maguire].
“But of course there is always that risk with any injury that you only have to have one minor setback – and two or three days here or there really, really affects those timelines. I’m very realistic about that and we’ve picked a squad on the basis that, if we didn’t have him, we’ve got players to come in. If he’s is able to be fit and available then that’s a bonus for us.”