England manager Gareth Southgate has explained his decision to not call up Arsenal academy graduate Bukayo Saka to the senior squad.
The Three Lions boss named his latest squad for the UEFA Nations League games vs Denmark and Iceland next month.
Players such as Mason Greenwood, Phil Foden and Kalvin Phillips were all given their maiden call-ups, while Saka was snubbed despite the lack of left-back options due to injuries.
Ben Chilwell, who is closing in on a move to Chelsea, was left out of Leicester’s last games of the season due to a heel problem and was not included in the squad named by Southgate.
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Saka has impressed in a stand-in left-back role when called upon by Arsenal this season, leading to questions over why the England boss has looked past the 18-year-old to play that role again on the international stage.
“I feel he’s more of an attacking player. I know he’s played at left-back and he’s given good contributions there in an attacking sense certainly,” Southgate explained to journalists about his decision.
“I know he’s played in midfield & on the right as well – he’s a very exciting player. It’s still early for him but he’s a player we like & we monitoring very closely. I think Phil Foden in particular has been patient for his opportunity & we’ve taken our time with that.
“But, yes, Saka had a very good season with Arsenal, he was not in the team at the very end but had a really good season of progress and he’s a player we are watching very closely.”
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