Roberto Martinez is confident that Phil Jagielka will be fit for Euro 2016 and backed the Everton defender to be a key man for England.
The Toffees’ captain is currently sidelined by a hamstring problem but is on track to return for the final match of the Premier League season against Norwich next weekend.
Jagielka originally sustained the injury a month ago and then aggravated it during the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United after being rushed back.
Roy Hodgson plans to name his 23-man squad for Euro 2016 three days before the last round of domestic fixtures, although the final deadline is not until May 31. England’s first match of the tournament in France is against Russia on June 11.
Martinez said: “There are injuries sometimes that you can’t really predict and this one we can predict. He’s already working at 60 per cent of his ability in terms of running.
“I would be very, very surprised if he’s not available for the Norwich game so there’s no accuracy that he could miss any length of time during mid-May. Phil Jagielka will be fully fit probably by May 12 or 13.”
Jagielka, who has 39 caps, has fallen down the pecking order with England behind Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill and his Everton team-mate John Stones.
Reports this week suggested that Jagielka could be the man to miss out if Hodgson decides only to take seven defenders.
Martinez, though, cannot speak highly enough of the 33-year-old, saying: “The performance against Manchester United in the FA Cup semi-final typified what he is.
“Someone that he has got an incredible mindset, someone that the bigger the occasion, the better the response – and the way he can cope with any sort of defensive action is quite impressive.
“From Everton’s point of view, we want Phil Jagielka fit, enjoying his football and performing the way that he’s done in the last few seasons.”