Harry Maguire makes a welcome return to training as England’s Euro 2020 fitness worries ease

Harry Maguire is back training with the England squad as the Manchester United centre-back continues to step up his recovery from an ankle injury.

England's Harry Maguire during the training session at St George's Park.

The 28-year-old’s fitness has been one of the main talking points as Sunday’s European Championship opener against Croatia comes into focus.

Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage in United’s Premier League win at Aston Villa on May 9 after Anwar El Ghazi awkwardly landed on him.

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The former Sheffield United and Hull City defender sat out the rest of the season, including being an unused substitute for the Europa League final loss to Villarreal, and England boss Gareth Southgate said it would be a “bonus” for him to be involved at the Euros.

England's Harry Maguire (right) in action with John Stones (left) and Raheem Sterling during the training session at St George's Park. Picture: PA.

But Maguire has been making steady progress and, having worked away from the group in the gym on Wednesday, continued to ease his way back by training with the rest of the 26-man squad.

“Felt good to be back out there with the lads,” the defender wrote on Twitter alongside emojis of a flexed bicep and the England flag.

Maguire looked comfortable taking part in training drills with team-mates during the open section of the session at St George’s Park on Thursday, although his availability for Croatia still looks questionable.

Jordan Henderson is also building fitness heading into the tournament, having only managed 45 minutes in Sunday’s 1-0 friendly win against Romania since undergoing groin surgery in February.

On Maguire’s return to training, England right-back Reece James said: “We all know how much of a key player he is in this squad.

“You can see how much, how big of an influence he has when he didn’t play in the Europa League final. It’s great to see him back on the training field today and hopefully he’s back soon.”

Kyle Walker, like Maguire another player who started his career with the Blades, is targeting Euro 2020 glory with England as the oldest member of the squad claims he would already be taking home the gold if challenged to a 100-metre sprint by any of his team-mates.

The 31-year-old is likely to start in Sunday’s Group D opener against Croatia at Wembley, with the Manchester City full-back preparing for a another tournament with the Three Lions.

England have one of the youngest squads at the finals, with Walker and Liverpool Henderson the only two players over the age of 30. Despite that, Walker remains one of the fastest players in the Premier League and is confident he could still leave the rest of the squad in the dust in the 100 metres.

“I’ve been with England for 11 years now so I must be doing something right to be called up at the age of 31,” he said.

“I always say to the young ones, ‘You might think I’m old’ and they gave me a bit of stick when I shout ‘Oldest starts’ in the possession or games.

“But I say, ‘If any of you want to race me, I am more than happy...and I’ll probably give you a head start as well’.

“Who would win a 100m race at England? Me. If anyone told you different, they’d be lying!

“Marcus (Rashford), Luke Shaw, Phil Foden and Raheem (Sterling) are also quick...but we have a team blessed with pace in different areas and hopefully we use that to our advantage.”

Walker did not feature in England’s two warm-up wins, having been given an extended break after turning out for City in the Champions League final defeat to Chelsea.

Despite coming up against Mason Mount, James and Ben Chilwell in the final, Walker insists all allegiances have now been put to one side.

“I’m feeling good and really excited for the tournament,” he said. “With the players we have, I think it’s going to be a good one but we need to produce on the big stage really.”