England’s squad announcement has come with key updates for both Tottenham and Arsenal after two of their stars picked up injuries this week. Following a weekend that didn’t go the way of either north London side there has been a mini boost after Gareth Southgate’s selection was revealed on Thursday.
Having lost to Newcastle on Saturday evening Arsenal bounced back with a win over Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday to all but secure their passage into the knockout stages of the competition. Spurs on the other hand had to wait until Monday to play Chelsea.
Ange Postecoglou’s side were beaten 4-1 in the end but did so with nine men for over half an hour as well as losing two key stars in the process. James Maddison, one of the best players in the league so far this season, was forced off before the break and is now a doubt for Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Wolves.
As for Arsenal, they had to watch on in frustration as Bukayo Saka cut his night short despite scoring and assisting at the Emirates Stadium. He limped off around 20 minutes after doubling the lead but had been moving gingerly prior to that. The Gunners host Burnley on Saturday at 3pm and Saka is once more a doubt.
However, both players have been named in the most recent squad by Southgate. The Three Lions have already qualified for Euro 2024 but still have two more games to play in the group stage and will be facing Malta and North Macedonia in the next fortnight.
The latter have a genuine chance of getting into next summer’s finals but Malta are rooted to the bottom of Group C without picking up a point. It is is this instance that many fans find it frustrating to watch their key players selected for duty despite evident fitness issues.
There is common precedent for this not being the be all and end all though as Saka was selected for the last squad in October’s domestic break. The 22-year-old was coming off the back of having not started a Premier League game for the first time in over 80 matches and was withdrawn from the squad swiftly after the group met up at St Georges’ Park.
Chelsea defender Reece James has not been included in the squad despite starting his first league game since August on Monday. James has now played a part in four games in a row, starting consecutive matches in the Carabao Cup against Blackburn last week and then against Spurs.
Southgate admitted that he had planned to call up the 23-year-old but was told by James that he wasn’t ready. Raheem Sterling was also left out of the squad, the third time in a row that this has happened having been an England regular for years.