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Southgate explains Saka’s England call-up amid injury woes

Bukayo Saka at Arsenal
© Ace Football

Despite Bukayo Saka’s recent injury problems, the Arsenal winger is in the 26-man England squad for the upcoming international break.

England manager Gareth Southgate has defended his decision to include Bukayo Saka in the national squad.

Saka was forced off the pitch in the midweek Champions League fixture between Lens and Arsenal. The 22-year-old is doubtful for the Gunners’ Premier League game against Manchester City on Sunday.

Addressing the media, Southgate explained, “Bukayo is still being assessed.”

“Obviously, they [Arsenal] have got a big game this weekend, then there’s another seven days before we play Australia and 10 days before Italy as well. So everybody will monitor everything as we go forward.”

Saka’s recent injury concerns include limping off the pitch during the 2-2 draw with Tottenham. The winger played in the following 4-0 win over Bournemouth. However, he was substituted during the Bournemouth game. This raised concerns about his fitness for the Champions League match against Lens.

Despite the uncertainties, Saka has been named in England’s 26-man squad for the upcoming international break.

The Three Lions will face Australia first in a friendly on October 13. Italy will next in a Euro 2024 qualifier on October 17. Both of these games will be played at Wembley.

England currently lead Group C in their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. They boast 13 points from five games (W4 D1) and hold a six-point advantage over second-placed Italy.