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England receive Harry Maguire boost as Manchester United captain returns to full training

Manchester United star Harry Maguire looks on in England training
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire returned to England training on Friday (Picture: Getty)

Harry Maguire has returned to full training ahead of England’s opening Euro 2020 clash with Croatia.

The 28-year-old defender suffered angle ligament damage during Manchester United’s victory over Aston Villa last month and was sidelined for the Red Devils’ last five matches of the season including the Europa League final.

There were initial fears Maguire could be forced to miss this summer’s European Championships altogether and while the centre-back was named in Gareth Southgate’s final 26-man squad, he failed to feature in either of the Three Lions’ warm-up games with Austria and Romania.

It’s still extremely doubtful Maguire will be available for selection at Wembley this weekend but Southgate will have breathed a sigh of relief as the United captain joined his team-mates in training for the first time on Thursday morning.

Raheem Sterling, John Stones and Harry Maguire look on in England training
The defender missed United’s final five games of the season (Picture: Getty)

All 26 members of England’s squad took part in the session at St George’s Park, with the opening match of the tournament between Group A opponents Italy and Turkey kicking off tomorrow night.

Maguire had been walking with the aid of crutches just over a fortnight ago but Southgate and England are hopeful the former Leicester man could return to action for the side’s second Group D game against Scotland in a weeks’ time.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Luke Shaw said the centre-half – his team-mate at both club and international level – had been displaying ‘positive signs’ of getting back to full fitness again.

‘Of course I think he’s a massive part of this squad whether he’s playing or not,’ he told reporters.

‘I haven’t really spoken to him too much about his injury. Obviously I don’t want to pepper him with questions.

‘Obviously he’s going along with his rehab, of course he’s getting better day in, day out, so there’s positive signs.

‘But I couldn’t say when I think he will be back. Of course we would like him to be back as soon as possible but that’s down to him and the physio.

‘We’ll leave them to do their work and primarily focus on who is fit and available and be ready for the first game.’

Earlier this week, The Telegraph reported that Southgate could experiment with Shaw on the left side of a back-three should Maguire be unable to feature versus Croatia.

The United left-back would start alongside John Stones and Kyle Walker at the heart of the defence, with Ben Chilwell and Reece James in line to start at full-back.

Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings, Wolves’ Conor Coady and Brighton’s Ben White are Southgate’s other options at centre-half in Maguire’s absence.

MORE : Manchester United make opening summer transfer bid for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho

MORE : Thomas Tuchel identifies Adama Traore as potential signing for Chelsea

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