Bukayo Saka ‘gutted’ to drop out of England squad due to Covid-19, as Southgate makes swap decision

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Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka has become the sixth player to drop out of the latest England squad following a positive coronavirus test.

The Three Lions face friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast in their final camp of the domestic season. Indeed, while the likes of Scotland and Wales face World Cup play-off fixtures, England qualified as group winners.

However, Gareth Southgate’s plans for his latest set of games have not gone according to plan.

Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold was the first player to drop out, with a hamstring injury. His fellow right-back Reece James followed with his own injury problems.

Tammy Abraham and Sam Johnstone then withdrew, before Saka’s Arsenal team-mate Aaron Ramsdale did the same.

And England announced on Thursday evening that Saka will now not feature in the latest camp due to a positive coronavirus test.

The winger wrote on Twitter: “I am gutted to withdraw from the England camp, but I have tested positive for Covid-19 and I will be isolating until I am negative.

“I’ll be supporting the boys from home this weekend and I can’t wait to be being back doing what I love soon.”

However, Southgate will not be making any further changes – at least by choice – to his squad before Saturday’s clash with Switzerland.

Defenders Kyle Walker-Peters and Tyrick Mitchell have both come in in two of the changes. The Southampton and Crystal Palace stars, respectively, will be hoping for their first caps.

Meanwhile, Saints goalkeeper Fraser Forster is back in Three Lions contention for the first time since October 2017 following the withdrawals for Johnstone and Ramsdale.

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has also come into the squad after previously not making the cut.

Saka focus turns to Arsenal

Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal

Saka’s focus subsequently turns to Arsenal’s Premier League run-in.

The Gunners are in the driving seat to finish fourth in the Premier League. That will secure them Champions League football for next season.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will be hoping Saka can return to action straight away after the international break.

The 20-year-old has formed an exciting attacking quartet with Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe.

Saka has scored nine Premier League goals this season, including seven in the past 11 matches.


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