Gareth Southgate issues promise to Arsenal and Mikel Arteta over Bukayo Saka injury | Football


Gareth Southgate says he will take no chances with Bukayo Saka’s injury (Getty)

England manager Gareth Southgate insists he will take no risks with Bukayo Saka’s fitness during the upcoming international break.

Saka is a doubt for Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Manchester City this weekend after he was forced off in the first half of the Gunners’ 2-1 defeat to Lens in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.

The 22-year-old has been hampered by an Achilles injury since the end of last season, while Mikel Arteta has been accused of over-playing the winger after he was substituted late on in the 4-0 win against Bournemouth last weekend.

Saka has been included in England’s squad for their friendly against Australia and the Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy later this month, but Southgate is adamant that he will take no chances with the winger’s injury concerns.

‘I can only go via what Mikel has said about the last few games,’ said Southgate.

‘He is in contention for the weekend so we’ve obviously got a very important qualifier. We look after the players as well as any country.

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal has to go off injured RC Lens v Arsenal, UEFA Champions League, Group B,

Bukayo Saka was forced off during Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Lens in the Champions League this week (Shutterstock)

‘There’s always a focus on our players because they are playing their club football, in the main, in England and then we are playing here as well. Whereas all the other countries call the players that are playing in the Premier League and nobody looks at how they look after them and how they train them.

‘When we have really good dialogue with all of their clubs, I think they pretty much all would agree that we probably give better feedback than every other nation. They have trust in us that we make decisions that are right for the long-term whenever we can.

‘We only have 10 matches a year. And there’s been times when… Bukayo, for example, we haven’t always played. But there are certain key games where, if it’s possible to have your best players, then you do want to have them.

‘So 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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