Gareth Southgate provides fitness updates on three England defenders

Krishan Davis
Justin was forced off on debut
Justin was forced off on debut / Michael Regan/GettyImages

England manager Gareth Southgate has provided fitness updates on three defenders while also admitting that the hectic Nations League schedule is 'very challenging'.

The Three Lions are preparing to face Germany in Group A3 in the second game of a marathon four-match international break which has come straight off the back of the club season.

Southgate's side suffered a rare and unexpected 1-0 defeat to Hungary in Budapest on Saturday and consequently already face an uphill battle to win a group that also contains European champions Italy, with a quick turnaround and further travel to Munich ahead of meeting Hansi Flick's Germany side on Tuesday night.

Phil Foden has already been ruled out with Covid-19, while debutant full-back James Justin was withdrawn at half-time at the Puskas Arena having complained of discomfort in his calf.

The England boss had previously revealed that centre-backs Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi - who missed the weekend's defeat - had been carrying knocks when they joined up with the squad.

Speaking ahead of the Nations League clash at the Allianz Arena, Southgate discussed the selection challenges of such a packed international break and provided updates on all three defenders.

"It varies slightly from game to game," he said. "You are always trying to win. You always pick a team strong enough to win a game of football. We are trying to manage players coming back."

He continued: "To play Saturday and Tuesday is very challenging. Always trying to learn things, there's the performance and result. We go trying to win and the learnings after it is how you develop and improve as a team."

On Justin, Guehi and Tomori, he added: "James [Justin] won't be ready for tomorrow but we are hopeful he will be back for the next game if not the one after. Marc [Guehi] should be ready for tomorrow.

"Fikayo [Tomori] we could probably put him in the squad but given it's a hamstring we will give him a bit longer."

Meanwhile, Southgate confirmed that Raheem Sterling has recovered from a bout of illness and has returned to the fold. The Man City forward scored England's opener in their 2-0 win over Germany at Euro 2020.