Gary Neville has warned Gareth Southgate against bringing Harry Maguire into the England team too late at Euro 2020.
Maguire sustained a high ankle sprain on May 9 after Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi landed awkwardly on him and has not featured since.
But he has been progressing ahead of schedule and last week returned to full training, putting him in contention for Friday’s clash against bitter rivals Scotland.
“I feel good, I’ve been training now,” the centre-back 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.”
And Southgate confirmed he would be “involved” against Scotland, but it remains to be seen whether he will start ahead of Tyrone Mings, who impressed in the opener against Croatia.
And Neville says it’s important for Maguire to get minutes before the knockout stages otherwise he would back John Stones and Mings to continue in the heart of defence.
“I think Tyrone Mings did really well – it was an important match for him. Looking at John Stones and Mings as a partnership before the tournament, you would have concerns against the best teams.
“I know people have dismissed Croatia after the game, but not many were dismissing them before the game, so I would still say that’s a really good win for England against a good team.
“I think the reason Kieran Trippier played at left-back was his experience and know-how, meaning Mings had experience either aside of him.
“If Harry Maguire can get back to a level, he will come back in. But if he comes back in, I think if it’s not against Scotland, it has to be against Czech Republic. You couldn’t make Harry Maguire’s first game back a knockout game.
“Maguire must surface in the next two matches, otherwise I fear you won’t see him in the tournament, and it would be Stones and Mings to continue.”