Monday, July 22, 2024

Saka earns first England call-up, Maitland-Niles also gets nod

Bukayo Saka’s remarkable rise to prominence at Arsenal has been rewarded with a first call-up to the England senior setup.

Ahead of three games during the Interlull, Gareth Southgate announced a 30-man squad which also features Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Saka only made his debut for England under-21s in September so it’s possible the decision to fast-track him through the ranks could be driven by his eligibility to represent Nigeria.

All three of England’s matches against Wales, Belgium and Denmark will be at Wembley on the 8th, 11th and 14th of October respectively.

Putting to one side the fact that three Interlull games in quick succession is ridiculous, best of luck to our boys!

Full England squad

Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Harvey Barnes (Leicester City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Danny Ings (Southampton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Declan Rice (West Ham United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur)

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Why is Saka listed as a defender? Playing him in many different positions may affect his development.

Johnny 4 Hats

I notice blogs hasn’t mentioned it but these AMN rumours to United don’t seem to be going away. In fact if anything they are intensifying. What’s everyone thinking about this? Given that other transfers are stalling, is it a fair sacrifice to get Aouar and / or Partey?

I’m totally unsure to be honest. What’s everyone else feeling?


I think it’s BS. If it’s in the Express, Sun, Mirror etc. and nowhere else you can be fairly confident they made it up (like they do with a lot of other things).

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah, I get what you’re saying. It seemed to make the rounds in a few different publications but I’m guessing it’s most likely nonsense.

I don’t get how supposed journalists get to make shit up with absolutely no accountability. I mean, I know it’s not the crime of the century but I would feel like such a fraud if I sat at my desk all day just going “Hhhmmm, Heung-Min Son to PSG? Yeah, why not.”

Bunch of slobs.


I don’t understand how anybody can work for one of these publications.

Seems you basically have to have no principles, no empathy, no sense of decency, no shame etc

Johnny 4 Hats

Yeah man, totally.

One of the things I dig about Andrew is he tells you the info in the headline. You don’t necessarily need to click on the article to get the gist. He doesn’t write “Aouar has just made his future clear to all potential suitors” or something aimed at leading the reader, even though a major revenue stream for him is clicks I imagine.

That’s integrity.


Apart from the “Wenger is Coming” headline on today’s blog ?


But journalism is such a ridiculously competitive industry that realistically if you’re offered a job at the sun or nothing then it becomes very difficult to turn down. I do feel for people in those situations, and ideally for them the attitude should be “what can I do to help change the culture of this organisation”. Again though, I imagine the reality is they get about as much say in what they produce as you or me on an average day.


Yeah I suppose that is true. The people calling the shots have got to be some serious scumbags.


The president of the United States makes shit up with absolutely no accountability so why shouldn’t journalists?


Neither should, obviously 🙂

Johnny 4 Hats

If politicians tell lies then journalists need to be trusted to expose them.

Unfortunately you can’t trust people who tell lies to point out other peoples lies.


You need a free press in a democracy to call leaders to account.

Unfortunately we don’t stop rich individuals with vested interests from buying up our newspapers so the press isn’t really free, it’s just private propaganda instead of the state owned kind.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Worse, there had been made-up interviews with questions and answers. If you sue them, they say democracy is in danger.


I think we’ll see at least one deal happen that we’re not very happy about as fans. At least that will happen if we get two midfielders, if we get one, maybe we won’t lose anyone we want to keep.

SLC Gooner

I could see AMN going, though it’s a lot less likely than it would have been at the beginning of the year. But highly unlikely to Utd. I just can’t see Arteta and Edu being willing to sell a promising young player to a very direct rival. Sanchez was a different story, older, on a much bigger salary, and torched from too many matches and too much travel.


They poached RVP and Sanchez who were much bigger deals than AMN. It wouldn’t surprise me but United would probably have to offer around £30m to make it viable.

He’s a fine player and I would prefer to keep him, but Tierney and Saka can both cover that left hand side so wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Funds must immediately be reinvested of course.


I think you may be a glimmer (nothing stronger as I said in my post further down) of “possibility” here. That said, The Evening Standard is running the story: “Arsenal hoping to offload Sead Kolasinac and Lucas Torreira by end of the week to fund Houssem Aouar transfer.” That certainly seems more likely but if, say, the Torreira part fall through that will leave us short for an Aouer move and that could (could, before too many Gooners get too worked up) point to another player going for “reasonable” money by next Tuesday. Apart from AMN who might that be?… Read more »



A Different George

Johnny, if we get Aouar, will you change your name to Johnny 4 Vowels?


I’m Irish but I still feel a weird sense of pride when Gunners get called up to the England squad. Other nations too but especially England, anyway, congrats Bukayo.


Great news – both well deserved. On AMN, there’s a report still doing the rounds (as so many are, of course) that Utd are/were/maybe interested in him. AMN was on the offload list some weeks ago now but then his performances appeared to bring him back into the fold. Utd have denied it, but even if it’s true they would anyway. It could be interesting because there are persistent stories that we’re now close to signing Aouar and with Torreira’s possible move having gone “quiet”, I wonder if Arsenal could/would use AMN to raise money towards an Aouar purchase? Just… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

How could you believe nonsense like that Biggles?

AMN to United? Laugh out loud.


Iwobi to Everton in 2019 was a bit of a surprise, wasn’t it? I’m not saying it will happen, as I’m sure neither you or I thought Iwobi’s move would happen, just pointing out that it could fit a particular “bill”.

Johnny 4 Hats

Just read the top comment from me mate! If you are a fool then at least we are fools together…


To be fair, AMN would not improve United. If they cough up 30 euros Id consider the sale.



Dr. kNOw

I admire your confidence in his ability to fulfil his potential, Johnny. If the bid is acceptable i.e. around £35m, I might sell if it was up to me. The source of my doubt? His passing and overall decision-making. They are the reasons why he’s not trusted with more central roles, whether in deeper or advanced positions. So he plays out wide, where the pitch is halved and the damage of misplaced passes are minimised. He also has the pace and strength to neutralise almost any winger in the league, which he regularly does to great effect. However!… this is… Read more »


If there is any truth to this then I think we’d take less than £35million, possibly around £28-30million at a push, to raise funds towards an Aouar transfer. The possible sale of Kolasinac for a reported £10million or so could add to that. Who knows, we’ll see in due course, won’t we.


Hot news! The latest report on this site suggests the Torreira deal to AM is on, but only as a loan. Assuming Partey doesn’t come on loan in the other direction, where’s the money coming from to fund the purchase of a midfielder (possibly Partey or, more likely, Aouar)? I wonder … .


Congratulations Bukayo and well done Ainsley! So glad we tied Saka down for the long term


Arsenal: sign one of best young talents to a 5 yr contract
Chelsea: sign the highest priced (and also greatest lol) keeper of all time to a 7 yr contract…


Well done, that man!

Fully deserved!


Congrats to both! Use this as a chance to learn, grow and please don’t get injured!


How does AMN get anywhere near an england squad? really struggling for left backs i guess


Saka is the MAN! He is my fav Arsenal player, even above Auba. I just like the way he plays. About time he got a call up.

Dave cee

Totally agree with you, but from his point of view, should he just jump at the call up? I don’t know him or his thoughts but maybe, if he has some leaning towards Nigeria, he should keep his options open for another year. Just a thought


he’d be a guaranteed starter for the super eagles for sure but he is exceptional enough to also play regularly for england plus he’s still young so he has ample time to cement his place in the three lions squad…


I have to slightly disagree with the author that “three Interlull games in quick succession is ridiculous”. These international fixture blocks will ease congestion with less back-and-forth travel. The players are still away for roughly the same amount of time – just over a week – but now get three games out of the way as opposed to two. From an Arsenal point of view, if you take our first choice 11 – Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney, Maitland-Niles, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang – I think only 3 – Tierney, Xhaka, Aubameyang – are starters for their country. Take… Read more »


Fantastic to have him as an Arsenal player and also an England player (sorry Nigeria)!

Already a great player so young, could be such a legend!

A Different George

I think he’s not officially committed to England until he steps on the pitch in a competitive match.


In a totally selfish way I am glad he chose England. I’m English so I will get to see him play more often and I would rather cheer him on than Kane and Maguire etc.
He will have less travelling to be with the squad and he won’t be in the ACN which is expected to start January so it benefits Arsenal.

A Different George

The Guardian reports (as a done deal, not a posssibility) that Lyon has bought Lucas Paquetá, a midfielder from Milan, for £18.2m. That almost certainly means they have agreed to sell Aouar to someone, probably us.

Teryima Adi

Congrats, Saka. I wish you were strutting your stuff with the Super Eagles though.

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