Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is hoping to make his return from injury at Euro 2020 by the time England play their third and final group game against Czech Republic on 22 June, meaning he could then be a big boost ahead of the knockout stages.
Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage in a Premier League game against Aston Villa in early May and missed the end of the club season as a result.
The centre-back, who rose to prominence with England at the 2018 World Cup, was named in the squad regardless by manager Gareth Southgate and made his eagerly awaited return to full training on Thursday, just a few days before the Three Lions face Croatia in their opener.
Maguire hadn’t played or trained properly for a month by the time he part of Thursday morning’s session and the likelihood of being available to face Croatia was always slim.
The Scotland game on 18 June might also come too soon for Maguire to be involved as he needs more time to build his fitness and avoid any setbacks by not rushing his comeback. But the Daily Mirror now reports that he is targeting the Czech Republic clash on 22 June.
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Man Utd centre-back Harry Maguire has returned to England training after recovering from an ankle injury.
Predicting Scotland's lineup for their opening Euro 2020 clash with Switzerland.
Maguire’s return could be a timely boost to give England a fresh injection of experience and leadership at the back for the knockout stages, assuming they can navigate the group first.
Until then, Southgate has choices to make at the back over both tactics and personnel. The manager has often favoured a system with three centre-backs during his time in charge, notably using it at the World Cup three years ago - although he opted for flat back four in the recent warm-up games.
John Stones, Tyrone Mings, Conor Coady and Ben White are the other centre-backs available to him in the squad. Kyle Walker and Luke Shaw can also operate as auxiliary centre-backs in a three.