Luke Shaw is making good progress from a double leg break and England manager Roy Hodgson says the Manchester United left-back is a “major competitor” for a place in his Euro 2016 squad.
An exceptional start to the season at Old Trafford was cruelly halted by an horrific injury during September’s Champions League clash at PSV Eindhoven.
Shaw suffered a double leg break in a tackle by Hector Moreno, leading to two operations and a lengthy spell on the sidelines that left his season in tatters.
Few expected to see the 20-year-old again this season but his progress has been impressive with reports suggesting he could be back in training by early April, making Hodgson hopeful of having him available for Euro 2016.
“Yeah, absolutely (the door is open),” the England boss said. “Luke Shaw’s in the same position as Wayne Rooney, Jack Wilshere.
“Luke Shaw’s a player we believe in, we think is an excellent talent. We think he will be a major competitor with the other left-backs for a place in the squad.
“All that remains is for him to get fit enough to be selected.
“I spoke to Luke on Sunday and he said to me too that things are going well and that’s good news. We’re in the hands of the club, to some extent.
“If they decide they don’t want to risk him in the final games, they do want to hold him back, they want to give him a pre-season to get 100 per cent fit, there’s not much I can do.”
Hodgson is keeping a “very close eye on the matter” and is hoping United use him before having to announce his squad for France on May 12.
“I would be a little bit disappointed in that I think the player deserves the opportunity, if he is fully fit, to be given a chance of being selected,” he said.
“But I would understand it. It’s a decision the club will make hopefully in tandem with the player and I will respect it.
“I don’t interfere with club business. I’ve been a club manager and you can’t always expect the agenda of the club and international manager to coincide.”
If Shaw does not make it back in time, Hodgson is fortunate to have impressive strength in depth at left-back.
Uncapped Danny Rose and Ryan Bertrand were selected instead of Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs for this month’s friendlies against Germany and Holland, while in-form West Ham full-back Aaron Cresswell did not even get a look-in.
Mark Noble and Michail Antonio are other impressive, uncapped Hammers to be overlooked, with Hodgson wary of striking the balance between loyalty and open-mindedness as the finals are so close.
Danny Drinkwater was the only player in the 24-man squad called up for the very first time, with his exceptional season at Leicester giving him a deserved shot.
“In actual fact he comes to the national team with quite a strong belief in himself, I would think,” Hodgson said.
“(He will be) pleased with what he has been able to do in the last few years as a footballer and anxious to show us that ‘I know you’ve been using these players and they’ve been doing quite well, they’ve got 10 or 15 games behind them, but I’ve got to try and knock one of them off their perch’.
“It’s an analogy I seem to use a lot these days, but let us see if he can do it.
“Dele Alli came in and took it by storm. Eric Dier came in and took it by storm. In the past (Raheem) Sterling has done so, people like (Danny) Welbeck, (Daniel) Sturridge and (Jamie) Vardy.
“The list is endless of players that came in and I and my coaches have said ‘yeah, this guy looks good and looks like he has the qualities – let’s bring him in and see’.
“They’ve taken that opportunity and made the most of it. Danny now has his chance.”