Soccer-England's Maguire to feature against Scotland, says Southgate

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - England Training - St. George's Park, Burton upon Trent, Britain - June 10, 2021 England's Harry Maguire during training REUTERS/Carl Recine

LONDON (Reuters) -Central defender Harry Maguire is available and will play a part in England's Euro 2020 clash with old rivals Scotland at Wembley on Friday, manager Gareth Southgate said.

"Harry will be involved tomorrow," he told a news conference on Thursday. "The decision we've got to make is whether he is ready to start, but we're really pleased with his progress."

Maguire, 28, has not played since picking up an ankle injury on May 9 for Manchester United, meaning he missed his club's Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.

In his absence, Tyrone Mings partnered John Stones in central defence for Sunday's 1-0 opening win against Croatia.

Maguire's return would boost England but could also be viewed as a risky decision given his lack of match time.

Southgate was positive about the Yorkshireman's return to fitness.

"He's trained with the team for four or five days now and had no reaction. Of course each session he's involved with he gets more confident. I think he's on a really good path," he said.

Southgate said all 26 members of his squad had trained ahead of the Group D game.

Victory for England would secure their place in the knockout stage and Southgate said that has to be what his time concentrate on - rather than their rivalry with Scotland.

"Our focus has got to be on performances getting better with every game we play," he said.

"For the fans and us it is a big occasion but it is another opportunity for three points and our objective is qualification. That is what we have got to focus on."

Scotland have also had good news on the injury front, with manager Steve Clarke saying on Thursday that defender Kieran Tierney, who missed the 2-0 loss to the Czech Republic, will be available.

(Reporting by Simon Evans;Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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