Gareth Southgate has explained why Bukayo Saka is in the England u21s for the upcoming break, instead of the senior squad.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 07: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on March 07, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND: Bukayo Saka of Arsenal during the Premier League match on March 07, 2020. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate selected his senior squad for the upcoming international break this week, with Arsenal fans unhappy to see Bukayo Saka missing out.

As usual, Arsenal players are filling up the England youth teams. Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah and Saka all made the u21 squad, along with former Gunner Josh Dasilva. But none made Southgate’s squad.

The national team manager explained to Mark Mann-Bryans why he left Saka out, even though he didn’t call up a single left-back for the break.

“I feel he’s more of an attacking player,” Southgate said. “I know he’s played at left-back. He’s given good contributions there in an attacking sense certainly.

“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’re 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.”

Saka scored four goals and assisted 12 in 38 appearances for Arsenal last season. Many of those came from the left-back position, making the tally even more impressive.

For now, he’ll have to settle for a spot in the u21s. That’s still a step up from his last international appearances, when he was playing for the u19s in November. He scored one and assisted one in his last two games at that age group.