Bukayo Saka ‘IS expected to join up with the England squad during the international break’ – despite being left out of Arsenal’s matchday squad to face Man City
- The 22-year-old wasn’t selected to face Pep Guardiola’s side in 1-0 Emirates win
- Arteta ruled out player for England duty after the feisty top-of-the-table clash
- Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’
Bukayo Saka is expected to join the England national team camp ahead of the international break’s friendlies and European championship qualifiers, according to reports.
Gareth Soutgate called up the starting XI stalwart last week, despite Saka picking up a knock during the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat at Lens in the Champions League.
Arsenal and the FA are thought to have held talks to discuss whether the player should join up with the national team during the break, with his domestic side believed to think that a rest would do the player – who has started every Premier League and Champions League tie this season – a world of good.
Despite claiming that the starlet was ‘in contention’, Mikel Arteta opted not to pick Saka for the matchday squad for the Gunners’ 1-0 victory against Manchester City on Sunday.
But as per the Evening Standard, the FA are set to welcome the 22-year-old at St George’s Park this week.
Bukayo Saka could yet join up with the England squad at St George’s Park after missing out against Man City on Sunday
The 22-year-old picked up a knock against Lens during a midweek Champions League defeat
Mikel Arteta shared that Saka had not trained on Saturday ahead of the weekend’s fixture
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The news may come as a somewhat of a surprise to the north London club’s head coach, who seemed adamant that Southgate would let the player rest.
‘No, he couldn’t make it,’ Arteta said after the final whistle when asked if his player would join up with the squad. ‘He hasn’t had a single training session, so he will be out.
‘He’s not available to play football at the moment.’
England medical staff are thought to be preparing to asses the player at St George’s Park, ahead of a likely reduced schedule.
Mail Sport reported on Friday that England would allow Saka to complete a significantly tapered training programme, and that he was unlikely to be named to the matchday squad for the team’s friendly against Australia on Friday evening.
But Saka could still feature in Engand’s competitive fixture, which sees them play Italy at Wembley on Tuesday in their next round of Euro 2024 qualifiers.
England currently sit atop Group C with 13 points ahead of their final three qualifying matches.
Gareth Southgate was adamant that he would not risk Saka’s physical fitness with his selection
The attacker has been an undroppable force for both club and country over recent seasons
After the home victory on Sunday, Arteta admitted that he had been ‘tempted’ to risk the fitness of his talented player, but when Saka wasn’t able to take part in training on Saturday, the decision was made for him.
In a press conference ahead of the international games, when drawn onto the topic of his contentious selection of Saka, Southgate claimed that he would never make a selection decision that would risk a player’s fitness.
‘There are certain key games where, if it’s possible to have your best players, then you do want to have them,’ Southgate said. ‘We’ve got that responsibility of qualifying for the country.
‘But… I’ve been a player… I’ve never, ever taken a risk on a player’s physical wellbeing. And nor would I.’
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