March 3, 2020 / 7:43 PM / a month ago

Kane and Rashford on track but Southgate not ruling out Vardy return

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - England manager Gareth Southgate believes his two injured strikers Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford are “on track” in their recoveries but said he would not close the door on a Euro 2020 recall for Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 Qualifier - Group A - Kosovo v England - Fadil Vokrri Stadium, Pristina, Kosovo - November 17, 2019 England manager Gareth Southgate celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Tottenham forward Kane had an operation in January on a ruptured hamstring tendon whilst 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 told reporters after the draw for the Nations League on Tuesday.

“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 Tottenham 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 Premier League action before their thoughts turned to the Euros where England will play Croatia, the Czech Republic and a qualifier from the playoffs 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; 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,” said the England boss.

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 but who is join top scorer in the Premier League, might return for the Euros in June and July.

“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 the 33-year-old.

“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,” he said.

Reporting by Simon Evans; editing by Clare Fallon

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