Luke Shaw closes in on England return as Gareth Southgate talks up injury boost for Euro 2024

Luke Shaw closes in on England return as Gareth Southgate talks up injury boost for Euro 2024

Gareth Southgate says Luke Shaw has a “good chance” of making Euro 2024 in what would be a significant boost to England’s hopes of triumph in Germany.

When naming his provisional 33-man squad less than a fortnight ago, Southgate had rated Shaw as a “long shot” to be fit in time for the tournament following a muscle injury that has kept him sidelined since February.

However, the Manchester United defender has been continuing his rehab with England’s medical staff this week and while he will not feature in either of the upcoming friendlies against Bosnia & Herzegovina and Iceland, Southgate on Sunday issued a more positive update.

“He's progressing very well, I have to say,” he said. “I think I said last week that until we had the players in front of us working with us, there was a lot of information that we didn’t have.

“We’re pleased with how he’s progressing. There’s still a bit to do before he can get on the pitch in a game situation.

“But really pleased with the work he’s doing with our physical performance team and our medics, so, yeah, he’s in with a good chance.”

Despite the question-mark over Shaw’s fitness, Southgate left Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell out of his 33-man provisional squad and did not select another specialist left-back.

Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier are the obvious deputies, with the latter, who will captain the side at St. James’ Park against the Bosnians on Monday, having filled the role at the start of the last Euros.

Neither, however, offer the same balance as Shaw and Southgate may decide including the 28-year-old in his final 26-man squad is a risk worth taking, even if he is not ready to start the opening game of the Euros against Serbia on June 16.

“That's the thing we have to work out because, of course, if he's not ready for the first couple of games there's a chance he could break down further down the line,” he explained. “You've got to make sure you've got enough cover in that situation as well, so there is a bit of a numbers game for us to play over the next few days.

“OK, how many do we need in each position? We've got to cover ourselves.

“Clearly, he's a specialist left-back that's an incredibly high level player as well, so you're more likely to take a chance on a player that's been a regular starter that we think can really add to the starting 11.

“But there’s a knock-on, there's an impact to all of those decisions and that's why we've got to look at the full picture and not just each individual.”