World Cup 2022: Arteta, Southgate Agree on Saka’s England Decision

World Cup 2022: Arteta, Southgate Agree on Saka’s England Decision

  • Arsenal star Bukayo Saka was rested for England's 3-0 win over Wales having started the first two games
  • The decision did not haunt Southgate as the Three Lions won with three goals to proceed to the knockout stages
  • Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta earlier called for protection for his players from national team managers in Qatar

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka was an unused substitute in England's 3-0 win over rivals Wales last night. Manchester City's Phil Foden, who replaced Saka, scored the Three Lions' second goal of the game.

Gareth Southgate rested Saka after a rallying cry from Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, over the protection of his players at the World Cup.

Gareth Southgate, Mikel Arteta, Bukayo Saka, England, Arsenal, World Cup
Gareth Southgate and Mikel Arteta agree over Bukayo Saka being rested against Wales. Photos by Simon Stacpoole/Ulrik Pedersen/James Gill.
Source: Getty Images

Southgate's decision looked like it wouldn't pay off after a quiet first half, but three goals before the 70th minute meant Saka and other rested players were not needed to come on.

Mikel Arteta's statement about protection

Arteta's comments come as far back as May at the end of last season, before the players headed off to the UEFA Nations League.

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He was quoted by Football London:

''We are going to talk to every manager that is responsible for our players - how they are thinking, show them what they have done, how we have done it and what we expect them to do in the future as well. Everything has to be connected and related to the aim of protecting the player and getting the best out of the player."

Arsenal currently sit top of the Premier League table, and Southgate's decision is something that will please Arteta as Saka is important to the Gunners' title push.

Guardiola wants Saka at City

Sports Brief earlier reported that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to make Saka a City player. He will look to capitalise on the star's delayed contract talks with Arsenal.

Guardiola wants to lay off some of England's options at right wing and has identified Saka as an ideal candidate to run the right flank for City.

Arteta was Guardiola's assistant at City before taking the Arsenal job, but he certainly won't want to lose one of his best players to his former boss and club.

Grealish sings praises of Saka

Sports Brief also reported that Manchester City winger Jack Grealish praised Saka's personality and named him one of the coolest members of England's World Cup squad.

Saka and Grealish could be teammates soon, if Pep Guardiola succeeds in the pursuit of the 21-year-old Arsenal winger.

Grealish has been quite underwhelming since his move to Man City and has not hit the form that made Pep Guardiola splash £100m on him.