Harry Maguire should recover from injury in time to play during Euro 2020, according to Gareth Southgate, but the England manager admitted on Saturday that nothing is guaranteed.
Maguire is hoping to return from an ankle ligament injury in time to feature at this summer’s tournament, having missed the final weeks of Manchester United’s season.
The United captain joined up with the national team earlier this week but did not train with the group at Rockliffe Park in Middlesbrough on Saturday, ahead of England’s final warm-up friendly against Romania.
Maguire was instead one of three players to follow a “personal training programme indoors to manage load” on Saturday, according to the Football Association, along with Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka.
The 28-year-old faces a race against time to play in next Sunday’s opening group game against Croatia at Wembley and Southgate suggested earlier this week that Maguire’s availability will be “tight”.
Southgate hopes to have Maguire fit before the end of the group stage and ready for the knock-out rounds should England qualify, but conceded on Saturday that any minor setback could prove costly.
“With any injury, it’s impossible to predict 100 per cent,” he said. “Our medical team are pleased with his progress, and particularly over the last couple of days.
“We know there is always that risk, but all of the guide 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.
“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 and there really affects those timelines.
“So I’m very realistic about that. We’ve picked a squad on the basis that if we didn’t have him, we’ve got the players to come in, and if he’s able to be fit and available, then that’s a bonus for us.”
Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool captain and another senior figure in the national set-up, was also called up by Southgate despite still recovering a groin injury and not playing since February.
Henderson was set to feature in Wednesday’s friendly win over Austria only to pull out late in the day, but Southgate expects him to now appear against Romania.
“The plan, as it was on Wednesday, will be that he’s involved in the game. The last two, three days training have been a lot more positive for him,” the England manager said.
“I think the confidence of having a scan that showed no issues has helped him to push forward with his rehabilitation and training. He’s been visibly happier within himself I think and that’s a positive sign.”