Harry Maguire faces ‘tight’ race for Euro 2020 opener – Gareth Southgate

England boss Gareth Southgate says it is going to be “tight” for defender Harry Maguire to be fit for his side’s European Championship opener against Croatia.

The Manchester United centre-back has been named in the 26-man squad for the tournament despite currently nursing an ankle ligament injury.

He is yet to join up with the group as he quarantines following his return from United’s Europa League final defeat in Poland and Southgate says he is a doubt for the game at Wembley on June 13.

Harry Maguire in the stands on crutches as Manchester United take on Leicester
Harry Maguire in the stands on crutches as Manchester United take on Leicester (Dave Thompson/PA)

However, the boss had no hesitation in including him in his squad.

“It is going to be tight for the first game, there is no question,” Southgate said.

“He is such a good player and because we had the additional size of squad, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad.

“We know exactly where he is at, he has not travelled yet to us because of the quarantine issues coming back from Poland.

“He has got a bit to do. Like Hendo (Jordan Henderson), they have both got a bit to do.

“We feel the possibility is they can play a part and the fact they are such fantastic characters around the group, especially with the younger ones, given we were able to pick 26 we felt the opportunity to have those two with us is straightforward.”

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Southgate attracted attention for naming four right-backs with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker and Reece James all making the cut.

He added: “We went through this last week. We have four players that play sometimes at right-back for their clubs.

“Basically they are in the best 26 footballers and that is why they are in the squad.

“If I could have picked five or six right-backs I would have done.

“We are here to play nine games. We already have some injury doubts in the group. We need adaptability, good players, good professionals and we are fortunate we have old and young players to do that.”

Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins were among the six names cut from the 33-man provisional squad.

Mason Greenwood withdrew through injury on the morning of the announcement, with uncapped trio Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey and Ben White also missing out.

Jesse Lingard celebrates scoring against Arsenal
Jesse Lingard starred for West Ham but missed the cut with England (Justin Tallis/PA)

Lingard’s outstanding start to life on loan from Manchester United at West Ham saw him brought in from the cold in March’s World Cup qualification triple-header.

The 28-year-old played a part in all three of those matches but Southgate indicated in the build-up that he was there due to the absence of the injured Jack Grealish and Jadon Sancho.

Southampton skipper Ward-Prowse played in two of those games and had been due to start the third until withdrawing through injury and has missed the cut, as he did for the 2019 Nations League finals.

Aston Villa striker Watkins scored on his debut against San Marino but was behind Harry Kane and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the pecking order.

Southgate said on England’s YouTube channel: “I think every squad is difficult because we have a lot of talented players in this country.

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“The most difficult thing is to not be able to take players who’ve been with us in previous matches and who are such good professionals. I know what a disappointment that is for them at the moment, not to be going to a major championship.

“But we still have two friendlies to get to, and there’s been plenty of examples over the years where there have been injuries in those friendlies that have ruled people out.

“So there’s still time for those guys even though they’re not in at this moment in time.”