Bukayo Saka to not report for England duty, William Saliba out of France squad

Bukayo Saka will not report for England duty this week, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has confirmed.

William Saliba will also not link up with the France squad after suffering a toe injury.

Saka was not included in the match day squad for Arsenal’s victory over Manchester City on Sunday after limping off during the midweek Champions League defeat to Lens, ending his run of 87 consecutive Premier League appearances.

The 22-year-old winger was selected for Gareth Southgate’s squad ahead of the October fixtures against Australia and Italy but Arteta said is not available to play.

“No, he will not make it,” the Arsenal manager said. “He has not trained for a single session. He is not available to play football at the moment.”

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed Saliba, meanwhile, had sustained an injury to his “big right toe”. Nice defender Jean-Clair Todibo has been called up in his place for the fixtures against the Netherlands and Scotland.

Arteta stated before Sunday’s win at the Emirates that he had considered risking Saka but the fact he did not train on Saturday made up his mind.

There had been doubts about Saka’s fitness after he missed training in the build-up to last weekend’s fixtures. However, the winger travelled and started against Bournemouth, scoring his side’s opening goal in the 4-0 win.

Saka then appeared to go off injured during the second half but was fit to start on Tuesday as Arsenal visited Lens. The 22-year-old had to be withdrawn due to injury again, coming off in the 34th minute of the 2-1 defeat. Arteta said during Friday’s pre-match press conference he was “in contention” to feature against City, but he ultimately missed out.

England play Australia in a friendly on October 13 before facing Italy in Euro 2024 qualifying on October 17.

After announcing his squad on Thursday, Southgate said on Saka: “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 wellbeing. And nor would I.”

Arsenal beat City 1-0 at the Emirates to move level on points with rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Premier League summit.

Arsenal return to action on October 21 with a trip to Chelsea.


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(Photo: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

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