Maguire facing race to be fit for England's Euro 2020 opener

By Sports Desk June 01, 2021

Harry Maguire is facing a race against time to be fit enough to play in England's Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on June 13, according to Gareth Southgate.

Manchester United captain Maguire suffered an ankle injury last month which saw him miss the end of the season, including the Red Devils' Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.

Southgate has nevertheless picked the centre-back in his 26-man squad for the Euros, which was confirmed on Tuesday.

However, the England manager admitted to being unsure if the 28-year-old would be able to play against Croatia.

"We don't know that yet. It's going to be tight for the first game [v Croatia], there's no question," he said when pressed on Maguire's availability.

"I think he's such a good player and we had the additional size of squad, the fact that that leadership which is growing in him all the time, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad."

Another player recuperating from a lay off is Jordan Henderson, who has not featured since going off injured for Liverpool during the Merseyside derby in February.

However, Southgate revealed Henderson will play a part in the friendly against Austria on Wednesday.

"Jordan has trained with the team all week so that’s been good. We've had to modify him through certain parts of the session. He’ll be involved in the game tomorrow," Southgate said of the Liverpool captain. 

"His progress is good but we're realistic about what that might look like."

Jack Grealish is also coming back from injury, though he did play for Aston Villa in May, while Marcus Rashford is another concern.

"Jack has trained with the team, but not every day so we've got to manage his load," added Southgate, who will also be without Jadon Sancho, who is ill, for the Austria match.

"Again, we want to get the players to the best possible point but we don't want to break them in the process. Marcus, we haven't seen him on the grass but he assures me he's happy with where he’s at. We go from there with that one."

Related items

  • Bologna 3-3 Juventus: Bianconeri hit back in Motta's job interview Bologna 3-3 Juventus: Bianconeri hit back in Motta's job interview

    Juventus scored three goals in eight minutes to complete a remarkable comeback and secure a 3-3 draw against Serie A's surprise package Bologna on Monday.

    The Bianconeri, who sacked Massimiliano Allegri last week, endured a nightmare start as Riccardo Calafiori and Santiago Castro propelled hosts Bologna into a 2-0 lead within 11 minutes.

    Matters got worse for Bianconeri interim boss Paolo Montero when Calafiori struck again eight minutes into the second half to put Bologna, coached by reported Juve target Thiago Motta, into a 3-0 lead, with the defender chipping the ball over goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

    Yet Federico Chiesa's 76th-minute effort kickstarted a stunning turnaround, with Arkadiusz Milik's free-kick soon after teeing up a grandstand finale.

    Kenan Yildiz was the player who sealed the draw, as Juve hit back against their potential next coach.

    The result left third-placed Bologna level on 68 points with Juve in fourth before the final matchday.

    Data Debrief: Three down? No problems

    For the first time in their history, Juve avoided defeat in a Serie A game in which they had been at least three goals behind.

    Chiesa was key to their comeback. Bologna are the team that the Italy international has scored the most league goals against in his career (seven in 11 matches).

  • Liverpool offer 'difficult to ignore', says Klopp's replacement Slot Liverpool offer 'difficult to ignore', says Klopp's replacement Slot

    Arne Slot said it was "not an easy decision" to leave Feyenoord, but ultimately he could not turn down the Liverpool job.

    Liverpool finally confirmed Slot as Jurgen Klopp's successor on Monday.

    Klopp signed off on his nine-year tenure in charge of Liverpool with a 2-0 win over Wolves on Sunday.

    The German started an "Arne Slot" chant during his leaving speech at Anfield, and a day later, the Reds officially announced the 45-year-old Dutchman's appointment, subject to a work permit.

    Slot led Feyenoord to the Eredivisie title during his time in charge, as well as the KNVB Beker, while they also reached the Europa Conference League final in 2022.

    Speaking to Feyenoord's official website, Slot said: "It is certainly not an easy decision to close the door behind you at a club where you have experienced so many wonderful moments and worked successfully with so many wonderful people.

    "But as a sportsman, an opportunity to become a head coach in the Premier League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, is difficult to ignore.

    "At the same time, we understand very well that working at a club like Liverpool is a special and unique opportunity for him. With that in mind, we started the conversation to see if we could find a solution together, and in the end we succeeded."

    Feyenoord beat Excelsior in Feyenoord's final match in charge on Sunday.

  • Hojlund form gives Man Utd 'luxury problem' for FA Cup final, says Ten Hag Hojlund form gives Man Utd 'luxury problem' for FA Cup final, says Ten Hag

    Rasmus Hojlund's return to form presents a "luxury problem" for Manchester United ahead of this weekend's FA Cup final against Manchester City, says Erik ten Hag.

    Hojlund came off the bench to score United's second goal as they rounded off their Premier League campaign with a 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, having also netted in last week's 3-2 victory over Newcastle United.

    He finished his debut Premier League season with 10 goals, becoming the youngest player to reach double figures in 2023-24 (21 years, 105 days old as of Sunday).

    Hojlund has battled injury problems and dips in form throughout the campaign, and in his absence, Ten Hag has often opted to deploy Bruno Fernandes as a false nine.

    The Portugal international started United's last two matches in that position, and Ten Hag says he has plenty to think about as he prepares to name his cup final lineup.

    "It is not a dilemma, it is a luxury problem," Ten Hag said.

    "I think both formations can be a success because, as you know, we can play with the set-up from the Etihad, where we were a threat with Bruno's movement in behind.

    "With Rasmus Hojlund in behind and in form, it is absolutely something we have to consider. 

    "Let's have a thought, but let's not say we only need 11 players. In a tough final, you need a bench as well."

    Hojlund failed to score in his first 15 Premier League matches before ending his drought against Aston Villa on Boxing Day, though he did score five times in United's unsuccessful Champions League campaign before Christmas.

    He has 16 goals across all competitions this term, which Ten Hag sees as a good effort when taking his fitness problems into account. 

    "It could always be better, but don't forget he had three injuries this season," Ten Hag said.

    "He came in with an injury and missed the start, then he got injured before winter, and then got another injury after winter. 

    "Every time that has broken his rhythm. If you score 16 goals for a first season, it is okay, and remember it is also not over. We have the final too."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.