Thursday, December 8, 2022

Saka secures place in provisional England squad

Bukayo Saka is a step closer to playing in a major international tournament after Gareth Southgate included him in England’s 33-man provisional squad for the upcoming European Championships.

The 19-year-old has featured four times for his country since making his debut against Wales last October but sat out three World Cup qualifiers in March due to injury. Interestingly, he’s been listed amongst the forwards having made his debut as a wing-back.

England will need to trim seven names from the squad before Turkey play Italy in the opening game of the tournament in Rome on 11 June.

The final will be a month later at Wembley which means an extended run by England will likely see Saka miss the start of Arsenal’s pre-season.

While there is lots of football taking place this summer, there won’t be too many Gunners involved. Leno, Xhaka and Tierney are the only other players pencilled in for the Euros, our two Gabriels will head to the Olympics with Brazil, Torreira will feature in the Copa America and Guendouzi, fitness permitting, should feature for France at the under-21 Euros.

England’s 33-man provisional squad

Keepers: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Ben Godfrey, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ben White

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse

Attackers: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Mason Greenwood, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Ollie Watkins

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You can call me biased, but I genuinely believe Rob Holding is better, and had a better season, than some of the CB’s on that list.

Delighted for Saka though. Hope he makes the squad proper.


Agreed on Holding.

Johnny 4 Hats

Agree on the CB’s. Not a huge wealth of talent.

But… dare I say it? Are England… actually… quite… good?

If Southgate can get a tune out of this glut of attacking talent, we could probably go out on pens in the semi final this year.

A Different George

I don’t want to be the cold splash of water in the face–but the run to the semi-finals of the last World Cup was hugely dependent on the bracket. Yes, you can only beat the teams you play, but England only beat one good team (Colombia, without James) and that on penalties. France, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Croatia, probably Spain all superior teams.

Now, that doesn’t mean England won’t be much better in the Euros. But beating Panama is not relevant to that calculation.

Johnny 4 Hats

How dare you.

🎵 It’s coming home, it’s coming, football’s coming home… 🎵

Hey, I’m an Arsenal fan. Delusion is in the dna.

Johnny 4 Hats

Plus I think maybe I’m getting “good” muddled up with “I don’t hate most of these players”.

Bar the slack jawed wonder, there’s no one I openly despise. Which for an England squad is impressive.

Makes me think I’m forgetting someone.

A Different George

Fair enough.

Crash Fistfight

Look at the midfielders, though. Eurgh.

Eddy F

Holding suffers from the fact everyone thinks Arsenal have a “weak spine” and “concede lots of goals”. Even commentators recently have said Arsenal struggle to defend set pieces when I think we have one of the best records in the league this year (can’t find any stats to back it up atm).

Unless he cements a starting spot for Arsenal next season and we’re genuinely challenging the top 4, then I think any England career will pass him by.

Eddy F

We conceded the fewest set piece goals (5) of any club this season.

(Excluding own goals that occurred from set pieces and penalties)

Non flying dutchman

Top work on backing up your claim.

Even for a club that has struggled as we have this season, i cant think of another for which there are so manu tired claims in circulation

Eddy F

Was going to look through and see how many goals he conceded in his 28+2 appearances, but that is far too much effort…

Eddy F

Apparently 26 in 30 games. Which is a better ratio than Arsenal’s 39 in 38.


How do you score an own goal on a penalty? 😉


Ball hits post and then crosses the line via the keeper’s back.

A Different George

We have been very good at defending set pieces, but the conclusion you have drawn is not warranted. Defending against set pieces, whether corners or free kicks, is the aspect of the game that most obviously depends on team defending, rather than the centre halves alone. It is usually wrong to blame a centre half for conceding in that situation–and it is usually equally wrong to credit him for not conceding.


Not sure about that to be honest. s David Luiz better considering he’s been our best CB this season?

David Hilliers Arm Cast

Has he? I wouldn’t have said so, but again that’s very subjective. For all
His long passing and ability, he slowed down our tempo so often.

Crash Fistfight

Yes he has – Andrew and James said so, so it must be true.

David Hilliers Arm Cast

I was just looking at the list of CBs and thinking the same. It’s funny though, many of our own fans don’t rate him and are constantly saying we should get rid. Weird.

8th-the new normal is not normal

The fact that Saka can play left back may help him being retained. Coaches like that as it helps resolve injury issues and even having to let go players for COVID these days.


Agreed, I don’t think he will get a place as a forward as I think Southgate will bring 6 forwards (Kane, Rashford, Foden, Sterling, one of DCL / Watkins / Greenwood, and one of Sancho / Grealish).
Chilwell will probably be first choice left back and Shaw would make sense as his deputy but I think he’ll consider taking Saka instead of Shaw because of his versatility.


Let’s hope he doesn’t get injured. Funny how I used to despise Trippier when he was st Spuds but now that he’s at Athletico I actually think he’s good.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I think he’ll be one of the 7

SB Still

I think he’ll soon be Num 7 for England as well!


Saka is unbelievable and can play in nearly every position. He definitely going with the squad.

Non flying dutchman

England would be mad to drop him but i wont mind if they do We’ve placed a lot on those young legs this season.


Delighted for Saka, you’d be mad not to take him, so versatile and with a good head on his shoulders


He’s not ready for England squad,he must improve further

8th-the new normal is not normal

But Walcott was.


Walcott was never ready for the England squad. He ought never to have been playing for Arsenal, let alone England.


So what were you doing at the full time whistle of the 2015 FA Cup Final?

Shouting “Oi Walcott! You shouldn’t be playing for us, never mind scoring for us in the cup final!”………?



Gareth Southgate, England manager, disagrees and I guess that’s a more important viewpoint on this occasion.


He may still require improvement to cement his place in the National team, however he is good enough to earn a spot based on his versatility and effectiveness in so many positions. Also getting in the squad can only serve to show him how much he still has yet to achieve if he wants to be a perennial starter for England. He seems like he would take that as motivation to kick on from here and not settle for what he has accomplished so far.


Imagine being poor Ollie Watkins, knowing as long as Harry Kane is there you won’t get a sniff of the action


I think he’d be pretty chuffed, considering he was playing League 2 football only a few seasons ago.

8th-the new normal is not normal

No Vardy in the list?

Eddy F

Retired from International duty not long ago.

Vardy retired from international football sometime back.
Saka deserves a place in the final squad.

Crash Fistfight

To be fair, even if he wasn’t retired, he’s been in poor form since returning from injury.


Imagine being Ollie Watkins and knowing that you’ve stolen Patrick Bamford’s place.


Imagine being Harry Kane and knowing that you’ve stolen Patrick Bamford’s place.

Sam I Am

Imagine being Harry Kane and not having functional nostrils

Martin R

Are you seriously suggesting that Bamford is a better striker than Kane who has just one the Golden Boot?

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

His third actually


Irony recognition failure!


Bit like Wright, Fowler, Le Tissier etc when Shearer and Teddy Shittingham were apparently better…


Lingard? Based on what form? Willock deserves his place then. Heard Southgate hates Grealish is this true? If he takes Grealish place he deserves to be sacked.

The forward line up is just too good and England just has too many good right backs.

Tankard Gooner

Lingard has been in pretty good form for west ham since his loan move. One of the major reasons for their uptick in form since Jan.

Public Elneny

He had a couple very good months initially, but has tailed off for the last couple months. After 2 or 3 Willianesque seasons (without any assists), no way he should be back in contention

No chance he should get in an England squad with Grealish, Foden, Mount, Saka, Sancho, Maddison, Sterling, Greenwood, Rashford, etc in it. No way. Even like Smith-Rowe, Barnes, Ox, Barkley would be more deserving imo. Not to mention Welbeck and Theo

8th-the new normal is not normal

England is almost comparable to France. The advantage for France is Kante and the very reliable and massively experienced Benzema. Lloris is a better GK too.

old gun

benzema does n‘t play for france…. 😁 frozen out a few years ago!


He’s actually been recalled for the first time in a long long time.


I am happy for Saka, and hope that he performs well if and when he gets any game time.

In terms of France, even before Benzema was recalled, they had one of the strongest – if not the strongest – squads at the tournament. With Benzema now in there as well, it will be a surprise if they don’t reach, and then win, the final in July’21.

Saka deserves to start

Hopefully les Bleus have some young goalkeepers other than Mike Maignan. Lloris has experience, but has already shown signs of decline this season and and his deputy Mandanda is 36. They’ll need young blood sooner rather than later.


I’m so happy for him! If he goes, it’ll be a great experience that’ll hopefully take him to the next level in terms of maturity, but I’d be selfishly happy if he doesn’t make the final cut and gets some well deserved rest.


Hopefully he gets the call for the final squad and has an injury free tournament. Would be a just reward for a fine season.


“All we need is Bukayo Saka.”

Non flying dutchman

Like it. Were the 10,000 singing that in the Brighton game… if not then i think we got make that happen next season. Blogs work that same magic you did in getting Koscielny his own song


Saka definitely deserves a spot in the final 26 squad but England going deep in the tourney may deprive him of rest from the concluded season. Those tired young legs…

I love tomas rosicky

So chuffed for this kid, i’ll be rooting for him at the Euros. So many young talents in this England squad it’s just unreal!

Non flying dutchman

I feel this one comes too early for them as a collective.They have only has so much time playing together at this level even if some have featured along side each other in the more junior level squads… France and Belgium remain the two to beat for me, but I think this tournament can be used to put Enngland in good stead ahead of next years World Cup


What’s the point of a provisional squad? Southgate has been with these players for 3 years. He must know who he fancies and who he doesn’t.


It’s for him to assess fitness level and awaiting the last match of the season to account for injuries. He knows who he’ll pick if they are fit.


Nice to see an England squad that isn’t littered with S***s players for once, was quite a struggle supporting the team at the world cup. Kane is as good as gone anyway so once he jumps ship there will be none left!

André Santos

not sure why jude gets nod over joe willock. There much in that team with midfield drive

Sometimes it feels like Southgate just selects his squad based on market value and media hype. I think Bellingham is going to be a good player in the future but he is yet to temper that exuberance that comes with youth. I’ve seen a few clips of unnecessary fouls he’s conceded and times when he’s strayed too far forward. This is where I think Willock would have been a better option. I also doubt Jordan Henderson would be able to get through this tournament given he’s just back from a long layoff. Ramsdale over Nick Pope was also an interesting… Read more »


Bellingham is an absolutely brilliant player. Heads and shoulders (literally too coz of his height) better than willock.

Diaby's Left Peg

Willock is surprisingly tall


Not to his Mum

Salibaba & the Forty Thieves

Isn’t Willock 6’2″?

Naked Cygan

I used to love it when when our players got called up for international duty, but given our awful luck with injury’s the selfish side of me wants them to rest and recover for next season.


What? He’s selected Jesse Lingard ahead of Emile Smith Rowe?

Probably because of those 2 months of good form. Much of which was likely down to fresh legs (and frustration) from being benched at United. It’s telling that when fatigue started to kick in, Lingard regressed to his usual 6/10 performances.

Seems like Southgate is going to make the same mistake of selecting an unbalanced squad like he did in the 2018 World Cup.

Pull my finger

Saka has been effective playing amongst the forward line, we all know that, but has done excellently playing from a left wing back. He’s shown for us that he is versatile for attacking play from anywhere the Arsenal put him on the pitch, which will hopefully give southgate something to think about. Good luck to him.


Dang we only have one player in the England squad. ESR should be in there and maybe chambers as utility player. Who else in our squad is playing in euros? Leno, Tierney, xhaka. That’s it?

Merlin’s Panini

Well at least the squad should be well rested come the start of the season. That could give us a little head start on the fitness front. If we don’t start the season well it will be even more damning. Here’s hoping for at least a couple of really strong signings, particularly in midfield.


Gonna be rooting for plucky Villareal and Good Ebening tomorrow.

Likely they won’t win but if they do, its another feather in the cap for Unai over Arteta (and over bloody United)

SB Still

I’m supporting Villareal as well, not necessarily for Emery over Arteta but for enjoying a ManU loss!


I should think so too. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

Time for a few more Gooners (Holding, Smith Rowe) to be considered.

A lot more Gooners and a lot less useless Spuds (with the exception of the fly catcher, who’ll no longer be a Spud anyway pretty soon)

Merlin’s Panini

That’s a really strong attack. I’m a bit worried for Saka that he might not make it given the tendency of this coach not to choose Arsenal players. What might save him is his versatility.
I’d have loved to see ESR in the mix but he could probably also do with the proper rest given his injury record.


Good ebening Man U fans! 🙂


Glad for Emery, quite apart from the fact it was Man Utd. A decent man and, he’s shown tonight, a top manager. Just wrong time for Arsenal.


Agreed. Great job Unai! Good man, good manager. I wouldn’t have him back but im really glad for him.


I bet man u wish that Real Madrid fax machine wasn’t broken 🤣


How is Jude in and not ESR ?

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