Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice and Aaron Ramsdale have been selected by England for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, however, Eddie Nketiah has missed out.
It’s unclear whether Nketiah’s absence is related to the knock picked up at Newcastle last weekend or whether Southgate doesn’t fancy him after two consecutive call-ups. Either way, he’ll likely be disappointed having made his international debut against Australia in October.
Last night, Mikel Arteta said that Nketiah and Martin Odegaard, who also missed the 2-0 win over Sevilla, “are racing against the clock to be fit” for Saturday’s match against Burnley. It’s only a hunch but we suspect both will be absent.
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Given Gabriel Jesus is also injured, Arteta is having to lean on Leandro Trossard’s versatility. The Belgium international scored his fifth goal of the season on Wednesday and says he’s happy to fill in wherever necessary.
Asked about the demands of switching roles, he told the Press Association: “I always need to be switched on to be honest. I always need to know my role. But I like it.
“I will never back down from anything. If you put me as a striker, or a winger or a number 10, I will always play my game I think.
“Arteta knows I like to swap positions as well during the game. We have those types of players as well, and it creates a bit of chaos for the opposition team. I like it. I am really happy.”
Arteta faces the media tomorrow at 1.30pm when he’ll also be pressed on the availability of Saka who limped off in the closing stages of the Sevilla game with a knock to his ankle.
It does sound like injury is the main reason for Nketiah’s absence from the England squad. Amongst other things, Southgate said this afternoon: “Eddie’s progressing really well as a young player and we’ve enjoyed working with him. We wanted to include him as a young player to have a look at. He’s an excellent finisher.”