While the days of national newspapers printing out pictures of David Beckham’s foot might well be a thing of the past, there are still concerns about a number of players who have picked up knocks following a long, hard Premier League campaign in a condensed calendar.
Who’s a doubt for the Euros? Who does Gareth Southgate have to ask for club managers to wrap up in cotton wool?
Uh-oh. England's talismanic captain hobbled off during Tottenham's 2-2 draw with an ankle injury – a recurring problem that has already caused him to miss games this season.
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho says it is too early to know how bad the injury is, but that we could have an update on Tuesday.
Aston Villa would have hoped to have their captain back by now. Jack Grealish first picked up a knock in February but according to manager Dean Smith, the 25-year-old rushed back into training and aggravated the shin injury.
Given that Gareth Southgate seemed reluctant to hand Grealish a debut for a while, there’s some concern that the England manager won’t want to take the Villa talisman to the Euros, now. Grealish missed the recent England meet-up and now faces a race to get the minutes in between now and the end of the season.
Given the scintillating form that the playmaker was in prior to his setback, the Euros would certainly miss him if he doesn’t make it. Grealish is expected to play again this season and may just need the pre-Euro friendlies to shake some of the rustiness out of his game.
“I won’t give you any more information on Declan Rice, to be honest,” David Moyes told a press conference, unhelpfully, last week. “I will just say he has got an injury as everybody is aware and we’ll try and get him back as quick as we can. We don’t want to put any timescale on it.”
Rice’s absence will be a big concern to England fans. The midfielder has become an integral part of the Three Lions’ set-up in recent times and following an outstanding season for West Ham United, he is fully expected to be the first choice in the centre of the park for Gareth Southgate.
While England wait with bated breath on Rice’s fitness, West Ham’s 3-2 win over Leicester City at the weekend at least proves that they can squeeze out results without the man who’s captained them through most of this season. Hopefully, Rice isn’t rushed back too soon.
Last week, rumours circulated that Jadon Sancho could be dropped for the Euros in favour of Jesse Lingard. While that does seem unlikely, Sancho’s recent fitness troubles are certainly a worry for England.
The Camberwell-born star has at least returned to training but missed the crucial Champions League tie with former side Manchester City this week. Borussia Dortmund have been woeful without his creativity and his return will provide the Bundesliga outfit with a boost heading into the sharp end of the campaign.
Southgate will be aware that Sancho needs to get back up to speed, however. The 21-year-old has required a few games to hit top form whenever he’s come back from a lay-off, so the England camp will be monitoring his progress keenly until the end of the season.
Harvey Barnes was flying post-Christmas, proving himself to be an integral part of Leicester’s charge towards the Champions League. The wide-man made his international debut last autumn and would have been looking at being in Southgate’s plans this summer, but for a knee injury sustained at home to Arsenal at the end of February.
Barnes is targeting a return to the side at the start of May. He could well feature in the FA Cup final, should the Foxes make the showpiece.
The likeliness of him going to the Euros now, however, is slim. An outside chance anyway, he missed the last international break before the tournament and may well still be watching from the sidelines when Gareth Southgate announces his provisional squad.
England vice-captain is perhaps the biggest worry for the Euros. The Liverpool midfielder went off injured in the Merseyside derby in February and is facing a race against the clock to get the minutes in ahead of the tournament.
“We know it’s going to be close to the end of the season,” Southgate said regarding the 30-year-old. “In terms of promises, we can only say that [he] is very optimistic about how the op went. We also know he is likely to be a bit short of match minutes in high-level games.”
With the likes of Declan Rice, Kalvin Phillips and James Ward-Prowse in superb form for their clubs, the England manager may well be tempted to leave Henderson out, even if he does recover sufficiently in time. With Liverpool facing a battle for European football, the talisman could well be integral for the run-in - England will have to watch his fitness closely.
Joe Gomez underwent successful surgery in November last year to correct knee tendon damage that he sustained on international duty with England. He hasn’t featured in Liverpool’s infamously depleted backline since.
The defender still doesn’t have a set return date, as the club looks to manage the effects of his long-term injury. He would have been a favourite for Gareth Southgate’s squad, given his versatility and athleticism but he looks almost certain to miss out from the team now, as Conor Coady has stepped into the role as John Stones’s first-choice back-up.
Liverpool will still hope to have Gomez back before the end of the season.
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