Euro 2020: Southgate confident transfer saga won't distract Kane
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There are growing fears in the England camp that Harry Maguire may not recover from his ankle injury in time for the Three Lions’ first Euro 2020 game against Croatia, according to reports. The Manchester United defender had his season ended prematurely when he was forced off with ligament damage against Aston Villa on May 9.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side won the game 3-1 but the injury left Maguire with a race to be fit for this summer’s international tournament.
England head coach Gareth Southgate revealed on Tuesday that United were keeping their cards close to their chest regarding Maguire’s fitness.
The centre-back travelled to Poland on Tuesday for United’s Europa League final defeat against Villarreal but did not take part in an open training session that day and was then an unused substitute for the game on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper David de Gea had his crucial spot-kick saved after each player left on the pitch had scored in the penalty shootout.
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United boss Solskjaer revealed that Maguire was only named on the bench in case there was a necessity to use him. Instead, fourth-choice defender Axel Tuanzebe was introduced in extra-time.
“He’s not ready. He’s not trained. We have him on the bench because if there’s an emergency of course he’ll want to come on,” the Norwegian said in an interview ahead of the final, which was held in Poland.
“He’s a leader in the dressing room and a player everyone respects and we need around the place.”
Southgate was slightly more positive about Maguire’s chances of playing and included the 28-year-old in a 33-man provisional squad for the Euros.
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“We had an initial assessment on Maguire which was positive in terms of the tournament but there was always a little bit more swelling and further investigation,” Southgate said after revealing the squad on Tuesday.
“I understand why clubs want to keep their cards close to their chest. It’s made it a little more difficult but I don’t have a problem with United. We will know more in a couple of days.”
But it is believed that Maguire is facing a race to be fit to play Croatia at Wembley on June 13, according to the Mirror.
And the United skipper is sweating on his spot in the final squad as a result with it possible Southgate could pick a defender readily available for the entire tournament.
It would be a blow for England to be without Maguire, who was key during their run to the World Cup semi-final in 2018.
His headed goal helped defeat Sweden in the last-16.
While most nations have already named a 26-man squad, Southgate has chosen to only name a provisional squad so far due to uncertainty over the fitness of several stars.
Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson missed the remainder of the Premier League season after suffering a groin injury in February, but was fit enough to be named on the bench for the Reds’ 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on the final day.
Southgate has also accepted that he must nurse Maguire’s United team-mate Marcus Rashford through the tournament if the forward is selected.
Rashford has had problems with a shoulder issue recently and has played in 59 matches for club and country since September.
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