Rio Ferdinand has criticised Gareth Southgate’s decision to name injured Harry Maguire in England’s Euro 2020 squad.
The head coach announced his final squad for this summer’s European Championships as Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey, Ben White, Jesse Lingard, James Ward-Prowse and Ollie Watkins were omitted from the 33-man provisional squad.
Manchester United defender Maguire was one of the 26 players picked for the tournament despite being sidelined with ankle ligament damage.
The centre-half missed United’s last five games of the season including their Europa League final defeat to Villarreal.
It remains to be seen at which stage in the competition he will return with Southgate admitting he would likely miss their opening game against Croatia.
And former England centre-half Ferdinand reckons Maguire should have been left at home as he will struggle to get up to speed if he returns while the tournament is already underway.
The pundit is also worried that it could become a distraction to the rest of the squad.
He told FIVE: “England needed another centre back. This tells me he (Southgate) is definitely playing three at the back.
“Harry Maguire’s not even fit, I wouldn’t even take Maguire. You’re not fit, you’re not going to be fit for ages, it doesn’t make sense.
“I’ve been in squads with players who haven’t been fit and they don’t perform when they’re not themselves.
“It happened with Becks (David Beckham) and Wazza (Wayne Rooney). As good as Maguire is, he’s not a Becks or a Wazza.
“I don’t think you should take someone who’s not 100% fit. It’s hard to come back and get into a rhythm.
“That narrative ends up taking over the squad and it becomes the conversation and a distraction. Do we really need that? It’s pointless I think. Hopefully he proves me wrong, I would love it if he did.”
Southgate insists it was a no-brainer to name Maguire and Jordan Henderson, who is also recovering from injury, in the squad.
He hopes the pair can play a part on the field at some stage, but their leadership and experience in the dressing room will be vital.
He said: “We know exactly where he’s (Maguire) at.
“Our medical team have been over with him in Manchester. He’s not travelled to us yet because of quarantine issues coming back from Poland. That was a bit more complicated.
“He’s got a bit to do, like Jordan Henderson, to be available. But we feel the possibility that they can play a part, and the fact they’re such fantastic characters to have around the group…Hendo’s leadership and presence is already having an effect on other people, especially the younger ones in the group, but all of the others as well.
“Given we’re able to pick 26, we felt the opportunity to have those two with us was straightforward.”
Southgate admitted it was a longshot for Maguire to be fit to start England’s opening game against Croatia.
He added: “It is going to be tight for the first game, there is no question.
“He is such a good player and because we had the additional size of squad, we wanted to take that opportunity to bring him into the squad.”