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Maguire could make England squad despite lack of United action
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Harry Maguire has dropped down the pecking order for Manchester United but is still likely to make the England squad (Martin Rickett/PA)
Harry Maguire has dropped down the pecking order for Manchester United but is still likely to make the England squad (Martin Rickett/PA)

Harry Maguire has yet to play for Manchester United this season but could be part of the England squad announced on Thursday as Gareth Southgate deals with defensive headaches.

The Euro 2020 runners-up continue the road to next summer’s tournament with a qualifier against Ukraine in Poland on September 9, before playing a friendly in Scotland three days later.

There have been few surprises in recent selections and that theme is likely to continue when Southgate names his squad for the double-header at St George’s Park on Thursday.

The England boss is expected to largely stick with the tried and tested, meaning the likes of and Maguire, Kalvin Phillips and Jordan Henderson may get the nod despite questions over their international futures.

Maguire was replaced as Manchester United captain over the summer having fallen down the pecking order and has yet to play for Erik ten Hag’s side this season.

The 30-year-old’s last competitive match was June’s 7-0 win against North Macedonia and his next could also come in an England shirt due to a lack of centre-back options.

John Stones has yet to feature in the league this term due to a hip problem and Tyrone Mings, who returned to the international squad in June, has suffered a serious knee injury.

Eric Dier is fit but has not even made the bench for Tottenham this season and has been widely linked with a move before Friday’s transfer deadline.

Ben White, Fikayo Tomori, Marc Guehi and Lewis Dunk are options, while Chelsea defender Levi Colwill is expected to receive his first formal call-up.

The 20-year-old centre-back spent time with the senior set-up in June, including travelling to Malta, before going on to help England Under-21s win the European Championship.

In midfield, Southgate has decisions to make over Phillips and Henderson – two key members of his squad in recent years.

The former has struggled to make an impact at treble-winning Manchester City since joining from Leeds last summer and has yet to play a minute this term.

Southgate previously indicated a continued lack of game time could impact Phillips and Maguire, while Henderson’s move to Saudi Arabia raises questions over his international role ahead of the Euros.

England’s vice-captain joined Al-Ettifaq in the summer – a move that Southgate said makes it harder to assess the 33-year-old’s level, albeit clarifying “we would be stupid” to rule him out.

There is better news regarding another of England’s most experienced players after Raheem Sterling’s return to form after a sticky first campaign at Chelsea.

The 82-cap forward has not played for England since the World Cup quarter-final defeat to France, with injury ruling him out in March and a hamstring issue lying him low in June.

That omission was described as a “mutual decision” that appears to have paid off given Sterling’s lively start to the new season, including a brace and assist in Friday’s 3-0 win over Luton.

Chelsea team-mate Reece James is set to miss September’s matches through injury, as are the Manchester United duo of Luke Shaw and Mason Mount.

Morgan Gibbs-White, a key part of England’s Under-21s Euros triumph, is pushing to get his first call-up after continuing where he left off back at Nottingham Forest.

Eberechi Eze will be looking to maintain his place having made his debut in June and Rico Henry is another reportedly in contention.

Brentford team-mate Ivan Toney remains unavailable as he serves a Football Association betting ban and Roma’s Tammy Abraham is recovering from reconstructive surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Callum Wilson has not started for Newcastle this season but fellow striker Ollie Watkins – whose last cap came in March 2022 – is looking sharp at Aston Villa.

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