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Arsenal star Bukayo Saka has arrived for international duty with England, despite Mikel Arteta recently announcing that he was injured and would not feature. The winger was absent from the Gunners’ squad to face Manchester City over the weekend.
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Saka sustained an injury on Wednesday evening during his side’s 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lens in the Champions League, limping off of the pitch in the 34th minute. There was optimism that the forward could be fit to compete at the weekend, but his absence from Arsenal’s matchday squad on Sunday was telling.
Speaking after the match, in which the Gunners secured an impressive 1-0 win, Mikel Arteta revealed that Saka would not be fit to compete over the international break. The Spaniard explained: “He will not make it. He has not trained for a single session. He is not available to play football at the moment.”
However, England appear to be keen for Saka to be at least part of their squad and the 22-year-old has been pictured arriving at St George’s Park ahead of the international break. It is unclear as to whether the winger will feature in the coming matches, with fixtures against Italy and Australia on the horizon.
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Gareth Southgate named Saka in his England squad last week when the Arsenal academy graduate’s fitness levels were unknown, though the Three Lions boss had admitted that Arteta claiming that the winger being ‘in contention’ to face City at the Emirates Stadium provided him with the confidence to take a chance on his inclusion.
Southgate explained: “He is still being assessed so everyone will monitor everything. I can only go via what Mikel (Arteta) has said about the last few games. He is in contention for the weekend so we’ve obviously got a very important qualifier.
“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 well-being. And nor would I.”
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