England defender Harry Maguire: I feel good, I'm back available

The Manchester United defender has not played since injuring his ankle against Aston Villa at the end of last season and missed out on the opening day win over Croatia.

Harry Maguire in a training session; Credit: [email protected]

Centre-back Harry Maguire has declared himself available for England’s second match of the Euro 2020 against Scotland. Maguire, who played a key role in their run to the 2018 World Cup semifinals in Russia, played no part in the opening day win over Croatia. The 28-year-old centre-back’s availability for this tournament has been in doubt after he sustained a high ankle sprain on May 9 when playing against Aston Villa. The defender did not play another game for the club last season, including the Europa League final.

Maguire, a key member of Gareth Southgate’s team, returned to full training last week, putting him in contention for the match against Scotland on Friday. “I feel good, I’ve been training now,” Maguire said. “Obviously the injury was a setback club football wise. Internationally I wanted to come into this with a lot of games under my belt with full fitness, but I feel good. I’m back available, been training and I’m looking forward to it.”

When asked if he was desperate to start on Friday, he replied, “Yeah definitely. Obviously it’s a big game. I’ve done a few sessions now and feel like my fitness is there, so, like I say, I’m available for the game.”

‘Building the confidence’

Maguire also opened up about how he approached his recovery after the injury and what to expect when he returns to the playing field. “It’s about building the confidence every day, and the only way you can do that is by training and playing games,” he said.

“You can do as many rehab sessions as you like, but when you’re not playing that competitive football you can’t build that confidence, especially when it’s an ankle or knee injury. So it’s just about more training sessions and games in training, games whenever they come and the confidence will keep going.

“I’m sure it will niggle me for a few weeks and months. I haven’t had one before, but from speaking to players and physios, I’m sure it will be niggling. But as long as it’s stable and the pain is bearable then I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

‘Haven’t had an ankle injury before’

The Manchester United skipper has also revealed that he has not had an ankle injury before. “I think throughout a career in football if you didn’t play through pain you would probably spend more time on the sideline than you would on the football pitch,” he said.

“I have done it throughout my career and so has everyone else who plays week in, week out. The thing for me is I haven’t had an ankle injury before so I couldn’t gauge the pain or stability. That is down to the physios and we do tests day in, day out. We firmly believe that it is in a good place stable wise and when it is a good place stable wise that is the priority and I am all good to go.”

Maguire spoke about how Manchester United and its manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have been there for him during this difficult time. “I was in every day seeing the physios and the manager Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) has been great with me,” the United skipper said.

“He wouldn’t hold me back if he thought I was fit the first, second or third group game. He said ‘go and enjoy it, make sure it’s right obviously’. We have been in constant contact and the club has been brilliant with me.”




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Sportslumo Desk

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