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England: Luke Shaw hands huge boost to Euro 2024 hopes

England left-back Luke Shaw has not kicked a ball since suffering a hamstring against Luton in February

Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw has stepped his recovery from a hamstring injury to hand England a huge fitness boost ahead of the European Championship.

The Manchester United left-back has not played for three months but was still named in Gareth Southgate’s 33-man pre-Euro 2024 last month as the only natural left-back.

Shaw sat out Monday’s 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovia on Monday and remains a doubt to feature regularly in Germany even if he can prove his fitness.

But he now looks to have taken a significant step towards making the final 26-man selection after returning to training on the grass for the first time since February.

The 28-year-old is not yet capable of taking part in full training but was pictured to be full of smiles with team-mate Declan Rice on England’s official X page on Wednesday.

How key is Shaw’s fitness to Southgate?

It seems unlikely Shaw would be fit enough start any of England’s group games, with Kieran Trippier likely to deputise against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

But the 31-cap international could well recover in time to play a prominent role in the knockout stages should they make it that far.

That would undoubtedly be a massive positive for Southgate, who has favoured the Red Devils ace in the left-back berth in England’s last two tournament campaigns.

Shaw started every game of the Three Lions’ memorable campaign at the last Euros, scoring in the final as they agonisingly lost out to Italy on penalties.

He was then an almost ever-present at the Qatar World Cup in 2022, in which England crashed out to France in the quarter-finals.

What has Southgate said about Shaw?

Despite missing United’s final 17 games of the season, manager Southgate said before Monday’s clash at St James’ Park that Shaw has a strong chance of earning a place.

“He’s progressing very well, I have to say,” Southgate told talkSPORT.

“I think I said last week that until we had the players in front of us working with us, there was a lot of information that we didn’t have.

“We’re pleased with how he’s progressing. There’s still a bit to do before he can get on the pitch in a game situation.

“But really pleased with the work he’s doing with our physical performance team and our medics, so, yeah, he’s in with a good chance.”

Could Shaw make the squad even if not fully fit?

When asked if Shaw could go to Euro 2024 even if he is not fully fit, Southgate said: “That’s the thing we have to work out.

“Because if he’s not ready for the first couple of games there’s a chance he could break down further down the line.

“You’ve got to make sure you’ve got enough cover in that situation as well, so there is a bit of a numbers game for us to play over the next few days.

“Clearly, he’s a specialist left-back that’s an incredibly high-level player as well, so you’re more likely to take a chance on a player that’s been a regular starter that we think can really add to the starting XI.

“But there’s a knock-on, there’s an impact to all of those decisions and that’s why we’ve got to look at the full picture and not just each individual.”

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with experience writing for national title, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.