Saka came off in the first half of the Gunners’ 2-1 Champions League defeat at Lens on Tuesday night and manager Mikel Arteta said he had suffered a hamstring injury, admitting it was a concern ahead of the match against Manchester City this weekend.
Among the other key calls from this announcement is Southgate’s decision to stick with Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson, while there is no place for Raheem Sterling, James Ward-Prowse or Anthony Gordon.
Follow along for all the updates as England’s latest squad is announced:
When are England’s matches?
Friday 13 October 2023 - England vs Australia (Friendly)
Tuesday 17 October 2023 - England vs Italy (Euro 2024 qualifier)
Both matches will be shown live on Channel 4 and will both kick off at 7:45pm.
Gareth Southgate gives Bukayo Saka injury update ahead of Arsenal vs Man City
The Arsenal winger limped off during Arsenal’s defeat to Lens on Tuesday with a hamstring injury and Gunners boss Mikle Arteta said it was a concern ahead of the clash against the Premier League champions this weekend.
Southgate, though, named Saka in his 26-player squad to face Australia and Italy in October’s international and indicated the 22-year-old was in his plans ahead of the first fixture of the double-header next Friday.
The Arsenal winger has been named in Southgate’s England squad for the October double-header
Southgate on Colwill’s adaptability
“We’re conscious that most of his football has been as a centre-back and I think that’s his preference and his strongest position but equally we’re without a lot of experience at left-back and he’s playing there regularly and we’ve got some other centre-backs that can fill in at full-back areas as well.
“It’s an area where we need to find out a bit about one or two players because that depth in that position in particular in the league is not strong.
“But we really like Levi - he had a fantastic season last year with Brighton, an excellent Euros with our Under-21s, he’s adapting well to life back at Chelsea and he’s got a real maturity about his game, We’re very hopeful about his future.”
Southgate on Bellingham’s start at Real Madrid
“He’s continued as he did prior to our September camp - it’s a wonderful start for him and it’s obviously a huge football club, a big challenge but he’s taken to it as he’s taken to pretty much every challenge that’s been put in front of him.
“Everybody can see his personality, he thrives in tough environments and it’s great to see him doing so well.”
The England boss on Euro 2028
With Turkey withdrawing from the bidding process for Euro 2028 the only remaining proposal comes from the UK and Ireland. The England manager was asked his thoughts about another home tournament and he replied:
“It’s brilliant if that opportunity arises - there’s still a little bit to do I think. But all the nations are fantastic football nations and they will have huge pride in hosting.
“If the teams get qualified as well, there’s obviously some home advantage to hosting.”
Southgate on VAR drama
“I wasn’t for it,” says Gareth Southgate when asked his opinion on VAR following last weekend’s drama. “I’m still not sure if the Jesse Lingard goal that knocked us out of the semi-final was legit or not.
“I don’t like it. I think we should just accept referees’ decisions but we know we are unlikely to go back to a world where we don’t have technology as part of that decision-making process.
“It was never going to resolve every issue and I don’t think there is any solution that will achieve that.”
Southgate on Watkins
“Callum Wilson is carrying an injury and we were not certain he would be available.
“Ollie has started the season well - he’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks. You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias with selection.
“But he is in good form and obviously coming in on a high and he’s been with us before so we know his character, his personality - he is a good guy around the group.
“His team are playing well and he’s playing for a team that are really well coached and they are in a good moment.”
Ollie Watkins and Jarrod Bowen make England return but Raheem Sterling left out
The penultimate camp of 2023 kicks off with a Wembley friendly against Australia before hosting Italy under the arch in a European Championship qualifier.
England play a Wembley friendly against Australia before hosting Italy in a European Championship qualifier
Southgate explains Sterling omission
“We spoke before the last squad and we’ve been happy with the wide players’ performances in the last four games in particular and in the two in March. The team are playing really well and clearly there’s some stability there.
“We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas, he’s scored five in seven games and is playing really well and with the Australia game as well there’s the opportunity to learn some different things as well.”
Watkins earns a recall
Will the Aston Villa forward get some game time against Australia and Italy, perhaps as a second striker alongside Harry Kane?
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