Monday, July 15, 2024

Saka reports for England duty…and returns home

Bukayo Saka reported for England duty this afternoon, had his fitness assessed by medical staff and was promptly withdrawn from Gareth Southgate’s squad.

The winger missed Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat of Manchester City on Sunday – the first time he’d not started in the league for the Gunners in 87 matches – and manager Mikel Arteta appeared to suggest the 22-year-old would not be fit for either of his country’s fixtures with Australia and Italy.

“No, he will not make it,” said Arteta in his post-game press conference. “He has not trained for a single session.”

Saka picked up knocks against Sp*rs and Brentford in recent weeks before being substituted in the first half of Tuesday’s Champions League defeat to Lens. He is thought to have tweaked a hamstring trying to backheel the ball.

Gareth Southgate still decided to select Saka despite the injury scare, perhaps with one eye on the player being available for the Euro 2024 qualifier with Italy game on 17 October.

At the same time, he did make it clear he wouldn’t risk Saka if he wasn’t fit.

“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,” said Southgate.

“They [Premier League clubs] have trust in us that we make decisions that are right for the long term whenever we can.”

Saka will now return to London Colney to continue his rehabilitation.

Elsewhere, the Belgian Football Association has confirmed that Leandro Trossard has pulled out of their squad for matches with Austria and Sweden. Having picked up a hamstring issue in September, it sounds like he’s suffered a similar injury again.

As reported last night, William Saliba has withdrawn from the France squad with a ‘chronic’ toe problem. Here’s hoping some rest does them good.

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Been and Goon

Hopefully, commonsense prevails, and he has a rest before coming back against CFC.


Great that he is coming back to recover. Hope it only takes the international break and he is fit and well to play against Chelsea.

Johnny 4 Hats

*Searches for his “Freddie checks the grass” gif*

Bleeding gums murphy

Southgate is a prize cxxt. He has in my opinion already cost us the euros and certainly a crack at France in the World Cup final. He’s clueless. I cannot believe Saka had to travel to be assessed by England physios. If we say he’s injured and he clearly was as he played no part sunday, then fxxk off.


It’s been a protocol for years. Calm down.

Bleeding gums murphy



He is hardly clueless. He will falter in his job if he doesn’t learn to pick a decent centreback pairing and try and play slightly less conservatively.

You can hardly blame the England set up for hoping Saka would be fit, and now they know he is not injury free

Merlin’s Panini

Is there even a decent centre back pairing? I look at that position for England and no one really stands out. White would be better than most and he hasn’t played that position much in the last two years. But he’s not getting picked for other reasons.
England don’t have anyone with the presence and ability of Tony Adams, Sol Campbell or Rio Ferdinand anymore but are spoilt for choice on the wings. It’s weird how that happens.

Johnny 4 Hats

Southgate is a fricking genius. He’s got the whole media madly in love with him by saying the right things and being such a nice guy.

So now he can do a bang average job and no newspaper will hound him out.


Cannon and ball and arsen’all

Question – what is so bang average about getting your national team to semis and finals of major tournaments?

The Beast

Not an England supporter so not heavily invested but I don’t really get the scorn directed at southgate. Surely this is just routine?

Cathal Roche

If Southgate attempts to play our star boy, I’ll fly over and batter him myself!!!


How they can second guess the injury when Saka was left out of the squad against Man City is beyond me. Not like he was rested against Luton Town…

Please Southgate just leave this one alone. Better for England as well as Arsenal over the long term.

Crash Fistfight

He has left it alone, though, hasn’t he? Am I missing something?

Guns Up

Unless I’m mistaken, Saka hadn’t been sent back home yet when DJ posted his comment.


Yeah, for some reason this post needed approval and thus was delayed before it was published. Now looks dated, though I’m happy with the outcome.

Crash Fistfight

Was the article changed, then?

The title is ‘SAKA REPORTS FOR ENGLAND DUTY…AND RETURNS HOME’ and the first line is ‘Bukayo Saka reported for England duty this afternoon, had his fitness assessed by medical staff and was promptly withdrawn from Gareth Southgate’s squad.’

It says he was sent home in the article, so how could you not know that before posting?


Yes they edited it with the updated news.


Can’t Saka himself tell the staff he can’t make it? It’s like he doesn’t have a choice! If you didn’t want to go to school, you just “had a headache” and you stayed at home (playing some crash bandicoot hehe)


I think he wants to play


Playing games while off school sick were the best days


Well looks like Saka finally used the your technique lol

Heavenly Chapecoense

Some players may want to play in Euros and WC but not travel to Azerbaijan. That’s perhaps the reason for the rule.


Well in my whole school time I did sick-pretend only once, and in that only occasion my mother didn’t buy it and I was ready to go to school within a few minutes!


Sad for you, mate. Matthew Broderick could learn a thing or two, in that regard, with me.

The Beast

I’m guessing he may want to play if possible. I’d guess most players would.


It’s like Johnson’s Go to work/Don’t go to work parody…

Public Elneny Number One

Give the guy a break!

Al Johnson

I thought it was reported last night that Saka had been withdrawn from the squad? Is this a case of ‘we don’t believe you so you have to be assessed by the England physios’?


that’s exactly what happened


Arteta makes stuff up so no one knows who is fit and it messes with the other manager’s minds. I guess England have a right to check if Saka really is ‘in contention’ to play or not.


If he didn’t even make the bench for us he’s not fit for England. Simple as.

The Beast

Sure, Arteta’s the 1st & only manager to keep his cards close to his chest when it comes to announcing possible line ups to the general public/opposition


I’m not against Arteta doing it… it benefits Arsenal!
Others have done it before, but he’s made an art form out of misdirection.

Crash Fistfight

You might be criticising Arteta, Reeeeee!

Heavenly Chapecoense

Do not try backheels anymore, son !

Austin Bud

The only reason Saka should go on this break is so that those English twatsticks can smell his farts. An honor it would be.

Austin Bud

Obvi the other Arsenal players are excused from being categorized as such insofarashereforth


Glad to see that, for once, common sense has prevailed.

A speedy recovery, Star Boy.


Expect to see full strength squad against Chelsea.


I was just thinking about past players who have played for us in decent teams and how many would fit into our team now for context. Obviously not talking about elite level players like RVP or Cesc, but decent players we have had over the years.
Do any of you lads think that prime Koscielny, Sagna or Adebayor (I’m aware he’s a cunt) make our current first 11?
This is literally just for shits and giggles don’t take it too seriously.

Yankee Gooner

Fun question—I think peak Kos might. What about Alexis?

Bergkamps Boots

Prime Alexis walks into that LW slot, and we’d be unstoppable.


I think Kos makes it too. He was playing in a team with absolutely zero defensive structure and held his own against prime Messi in the champions league a couple of times.

Alexis definitely makes it in my eyes but I feel he would be too erratic for Mikel’s taste


Sagna, comfortably.


I think Sagna is a better defender than White. Remember when we went down to 10 men against Sunderland (I think) and he slotted in at centre half and was absolutely immense. Also a beast in the air.

White on the other hand is really really solid defensively but also dovetails so well with Saka and is so versatile. Sagna is a better defender but I think White edges him out of the team.

A Different George

There’s a difference between “definitely good enough to play for the current Arsenal team” and “would you start him instead of x?” So for me, Koscielny was obviously good enough so that we’d feel comfortable having him as a starting centre half. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’d want him to start ahead of Gabriel right now. Same with Sagna/White and some others. People have brought up Alexis who, for me, is easily in the Cesc, RVP category, in fact better than them (I know that’s heresy concerning Cesc). There might be a question about fitting into Arteta’s style, but… Read more »


Agree with you totally on Sanchez’s level, he’s definitely up there with RVP in terms of being world class. But whilst I could see RVP fitting in at centre forward and completing the team (as his hold up and link play was also excellent) I don’t think Sanchez makes it at CF as he’s not as good in the air as Jesus, and I have doubts about whether he would start consistently on the wing as his retention and positional discipline wasn’t great. It’s interesting to ponder. Don’t mind me I’m only going through Arsenal withdrawal over this stupid interlull!

A Different George

Yeah, me too. The move to Man United was bizarre because Alexis was almost the exact opposite of what Mourinho wanted. Like Mourinho, Arteta likes control–but unlike that negative, joy-killing, ultimately corporate way of playing football, Arteta also loves the creative, the spontaneous (within a structure), the beautiful moment. So, I think Arteta would have found a way to get the most (or almost the most) out of Alexis without changing his entire football philosophy. Is the interlull over yet?


I could probably make a case for prime Ramsey in the left 8 role.


Prime Ramsey was genuinely one of the best players in the world for about a 5/6 month period (around the time he got those two goals against Norwich, I can’t remember the year possibly 2013?
Again I think he’s not tactically disciplined enough for an Arteta team.
Would you have prime Arshavin ahead of Trossard/Martinelli? Does Rosicky squeeze in somewhere?


Prime asharvin can’t even press, if you can’t press you can’t play for Mikel, Sanchez is the only one I can think of there but I don’t know how tactically discipline he is

It Is What It Is

Or Cesc. Can also be a false nine.


Cazorla on the left 8, sanchez comes to mind. I’d argue Giroud for air superiority and one-twos against sitting back opponents.


I genuinely think Giroud makes this current team for link up play alone. I don’t know which of the two Gabby’s miss out though.


Plus he can be 4th choice goal keeper.


Xhaka 🙂


Peak Eduardo maybe

The Beast

Considering our current squad I’d be happy to see peak Adebayor as an option (minus the drama).


I know it’s just for fun but that’s a great discussion. Sanchez was world class – you could almost make a case for him getting into the Invincibles let alone the current team. Almost unplayable at his peak. RVP gets into this team (I know we are all supposed to hate him but come on). Cazorla is there or thereabout.


Here’s one for ya then, prime Sanchez or prime Pires? Forget about the way he left ect purely on football ability.

A Different George

I love Robert Pires. But at his peak, there was a serious case that only Messi and Ronaldo were better than Alexis Sanchez.


I din’t think there is any element of “thereabout” – Cazorla is in. His amazing on the ball skills offset his physical defensive limitations for sure.


THink Giroud would do well up front…but maybe not quick enough for Arteta in the press, actually…he might of been quicker than we think. Havertz is one of the quickest we have


England twats

He’s got no hair but we don’t care...

Pathetic that he even went. Our assessment should have been enough.
Bloody interlull.

Public Elneny

How didn’t I know there was a player called Proximus Basecamp!

Public Elneny

Ahh shit, read words in the correct order you dunce

Merlin’s Panini

It’s kind of amazing that they still wanted to assess him when he didn’t play the biggest fixture of the season. I know managers try to pull the wool over people’s eyes with international duty “injuries” sometimes but there is no way Arteta would’ve left Saka out if he were fit.


time for refs to protect saka


Maybe saka wanted to go to show support and to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind? Maybe he or the medical staff thought a second opinion – possibly on treatment would be of value? Trying to give the benefit of the doubt here.


It’s almost as if him missing our biggest game of the season, so far, wasn’t enough of a reason for England?!

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