Gareth Southgate Eases Concerns Over Bukayo Saka’s Injury as England Demolish Malta in Euro 2024 Qualifier
Gareth Southgate has assuaged concerns. Bukayo Saka suffered a major injury after being substituted during England’s convincing Euro 2024 qualification victory against Malta.
The Arsenal forward appeared to be in pain after a hefty collision from a Malta defender and was substituted at halftime by Phil Foden.
Southgate, though, indicated that his change was only a precaution and that Saka will be available for Sunday’s match against North Macedonia at Old Trafford.
When asked about Saka after the 4-0 win, Southgate remarked, ‘He’s good. Given the score, we just didn’t want to take a chance on him.’
England cruised through Malta, rated 172nd by FIFA, to maintain their unblemished record in Euro 2024 qualifying.
Trent Alexander-Arnold of Liverpool, who was playing in midfield, rifled home a spectacular shot between an early own goal and a Harry Kane penalty. Late in the game, Callum Wilson also scored from the penalty spot.
Southgate, the manager of the Three Lions, stated, ‘Of course, we know we have the quality to win the game, and then it’s about the attitude.’I felt it was fantastic from the start. We have players who provide leadership on the field and set the tone, and they’ve been doing so all week.
‘In particular, when we lost the ball the reaction to winning it back was a sign that we were there mentally and then some really good quality for the first two goals in particular.
‘We’ve made it look straightforward when we know that isn’t always the case. I’m very pleased with the night.
‘There’s always going to be that turnover of players with injuries so it’s important the young players are comfortable and know the group. That is very important that we have those options.’
‘Inevitably, a lot of what happens is going to be a little bit dependant on his club because the fact he’s been playing there has partly assisted his transition in that area,’ Southgate said of Alexander-Arnold’s prospective future as an England midfielder.
‘He’s getting used to receiving the ball with his back to goal and in tight areas when before he was used to receiving on the touchline with the play in front of him.
‘He was very comfortable doing that. I have no doubts in my mind he can do it, he’s just learning some nuances without the ball.
‘He’s enjoyed the project, if you like. He has been excited by it and he showed exactly what we think he could be capable of. He gives us something different to our other midfielders.’
England, who reached the World Cup quarterfinals in Qatar last year, leads Euro 2024 qualification Group C with nine points from three games.