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Southgate offers Shaw injury update and explains how he can still impact Euro 2024

Gareth Southgate has defended his decision not to take a fit left-back to Euro 2024 as he insisted he would not have been able to find anyone who could play on that flank better than Kieran Trippier.

Luke Shaw is finally able to make his first appearance of the tournament – and play his first game for anyone since February – when England face Switzerland in Saturday’s quarter-final in Dusseldorf and Southgate insisted he is not worried the Manchester United player will break down.

But while the right-footed right-back Trippier has started on the other flank in all four games so far, Southgate, who omitted the injury-hit Ben Chilwell to pick a lone specialist left-back in the sidelined Shaw, paid a glowing tribute to the Newcastle defender and dismissed the alternatives.

“I’m not sure who that would have been because the other options also had injury problems,” he said. “And then we wouldn’t have found a better left-footer to play than Trippier has played with his right.

“Kieran has given such high-level performances and defended so well. Such a great leader, such a super communicator on the pitch. The ability to talk and help others on the pitch is so underestimated and is a slightly disappearing art, I’d have to say. When he’s in training and matches, you really feel that. And I’m sure the players who play in front of him would recognise that as well.”

Southgate admitted Shaw has taken a little longer to return than he originally envisaged but felt it was a risk worth taking to include him in the squad.

Luke Shaw is ready to feature at the Euros
Luke Shaw is ready to feature at the Euros (Getty Images)

“With Luke we initially thought third group game, first knockout game,” he added. “That then looked like it might accelerate a bit, but we probably ended up sort of in the territory we thought we might be and given we had 26 we were happy to take that risk.

“We feel he can play a part now, and we’re still focused on being here for another 10 days. How much that part can be, who knows?

“But as we’ve seen in the tournament with the impact our substitutions have made, then, you know, five minutes, 30 minutes, 90 minutes, could be critical at any point. I’m pleased we’ve got him here because he’s unique in terms of the attributes he’s got for the position that he plays.”

Shaw has suffered a series of injuries in his career but Southgate’s worry now is whether England’s scorer in the Euro 2020 final can get up to the speed of the games.

He said: “We’re not concerned that he would break down but there’s obviously a decision regarding match sharpness and how quickly you can adjust back into that intensity of the cauldron of the tournament. But we’re happy with his progress, his commitment to do that. There’s been some difficult days for him on his own through the last few weeks. Some great work by our medical and physical performances teams and I’m really pleased for him that he’s now an option for us. That balance is something that has been difficult for us.”

Gareth Southgate has backed Shaw
Gareth Southgate has backed Shaw (The FA via Getty Images)

Bukayo Saka, Eberechi Eze and Ezri Konsa all took their turns at left-back in the win over Slovakia and Southgate added: “Throughout the squad we’ve got slightly different profiles of players who can play in a number of different positions, which is a great asset for us as a group.

“You know, when players like Eberechi come on the other night and did such a good job in two or three different positions in a short period of time, that’s brilliant for the team. People are really sacrificing themselves for the team as well as playing well when they’re coming into the games, so we’re very happy with the different options we have in that respect.”

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