Mikel Arteta has admitted that while Bukayo Saka playing all of England’s matches wasn’t “ideal” he does have some sympathy for Gareth Southgate. The Arsenal star has been a vital member of Arteta’s squad this season, after bursting onto the scene at the end of last term.
That form led to an international call-up and in the most recent break, Saka started every fixture, including playing the full 90 in the wins over Republic of Ireland and Iceland.
That has raised some concerns of blowout with the youngster, who is in line for another start for the Gunners this weekend.
Arsenal head to Leeds United on Sunday, before two more games in the six days after that.
And Arteta has hinted that Saka could be given a rest if he shows that he is not ready to play yet another game.
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“I have to see him today how he’s looking and how he’s feeling,” Arteta said.
“He’s a 19 year old kid whose played a lot of football in the past few months.
“I understand from Gareth’s point of view he had the injury of Chilwell. He probably didn’t plan to give him that many minutes but the circumstances forced him to do it.
“From my side it’s not ideal but if I’m in Gareth’s shoes I’d probably have done the same. It is what it is let’s try to get him fit and recovered and see how he is for Sunday.”
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Elsewhere, Arsenal will be without their first choice midfield pairing with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny both set to miss the trip to Elland Road.
Partey picked up a thigh injury in the humbling defeat to Aston Villa last time out, while Elneny, along with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah tested positive for coronavirus while with Egpyt.
Arteta has claimed that while Partey wants to play, the Gunners are being careful with his rehab.
“We knew it was a significant injury,” he added. “He’s done very well and he’s working very hard, he wants to be available. Hopefully we can get him back soon but it’s an area where we need to be careful & we need to be protective with the player.”
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That means Arteta could be forced to recall Granit Xhaka, who was an unused substitue in the last two Premier League games, with Dani Ceballos likely to partner him.
Ceballos made headlines earlier this week, when reports emerged that he and David Luiz had been involved in a training ground bust-up.
However, the midfielder denied the claims, with Arteta confirming that the incident was blown out of proportion.
Asked what happened between the pair, Areta said: “Nothing.
“The training is very competitive and issues happened a lot of times, those things get resolved immediately within the team and not much to say. There is no problem between the two.”
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