Southgate leaves the door open for the retired Jamie Vardy, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Southgate leaves the door open for the retired Jamie Vardy

England boss also monitoring Kane and Rashford's progress in rehabilitation

England manager Gareth Southgate believes his two injured strikers Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are "on track" in their recovery, but said he would not close the door on a Euro 2020 recall for Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

Tottenham forward Kane had an operation in January on a ruptured hamstring tendon, while Manchester United striker Rashford has been sidelined with a back injury.

"We've had really good updates right the way through and Harry and Marcus are exactly where we were expecting them to be," Southgate said, after the draw for the Nations League yesterday morning (Singapore time).

"Both players will give themselves the best possible chance of being available, that's their mentality and that's their dedication to their sport.

"That's the only bit we can guarantee, what we can't guarantee is how that rehab will develop as it's stepped up and as it becomes more intense, but they are both on track from the information we were given at the very start," he added.

Both Spurs manager Jose Mourinho and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have recently expressed confidence that the players will be back in action before the end of the season.

Southgate said the players' focus was inevitably going to be on getting back into English Premier League action before their thoughts turned to Euro 2020, where England will play Croatia, the Czech Republic and a qualifier from the play-offs in the group stage.

"In terms of their ability to play the matches before the end of the season, that first thought has got to be how do they help their clubs," said the England boss.

"They have both got key matches coming up for their clubs and they will both want to help their clubs to have strong finishes to the season and then we will pick them up from there."

The injuries to the first-choice England strike pair have raised the issue of whether Vardy, who retired from England duty after the 2018 World Cup might return to the fold in the summer.

The 33-year-old has racked up 17 goals in the EPL this season, and is the joint-top scorer, along with Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

"We've got 70 players playing, so why would we rule anybody out? I think that's always the stance we've taken and I don't see any reason to change that, unless we get another 50 English players playing in the next months," said Southgate, adding that he had yet to speak to Vardy.

"I've not spoken to players per se across the period but I've always said that that door has never been closed.

"That's been the consistent message." - REUTERS


Group A1

  • Poland, Bosnia, Italy, Holland

Group A2

  • Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, England

Group A3

  • Croatia, Sweden, France, Portugal

Group A4

  • Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland