The season is only seven matches in and despite looking like one of of the more threatening players for Arsenal in the previous two outings, Bukayo Saka has not been at peak fitness.
A goal and an assist against Tottenham got him his first goal involvements of the Premier League season, contributions that are vital for Mikel Arteta’s side to achieve their goals. By far one of the Gunners’ better players in general, being a regular in the starting lineup does come with certain demands.
Both he and Emile Smith Rowe have to start producing at the right end of the pitch. Whether 20 and 21 years old or not, they are the Arsenal No. 7 and No. 10. That responsibility is unshakable.
Though not looking in his best shape thus far, largely due to heavy involvement in the European Championships, Saka got himself on the scoresheet for England once more against Andorra as he continued his magnificent start to life with the Three Lions.
Arsenal and Arteta receive welcome Bukayo Saka fitness boost with Gareth Southgate due to field entirely different starting lineup for Hungary clash
As noted by Opta, he is the youngest player to score in consecutive appearances for the England men’s team since Wayne Rooney in 2004. The records keep piling up. Oh, and he’s been nominated for the Kopa award, which is effectively the Under-21 Ballon d’Or. Thoroughly deserved. Pedri, who?
But continuing to play for England each game when he’s so imperative to Arsenal can take its toll. While fans worry about burnout and fatigue more than the players and coaches, overusing Saka at his young age can certainly have an impact. The lad needs some rest.
Playing the full 90 minutes against Andorra, fans needn’t have been overly concerned. While the home side cranked up the physicality a few notches, England were so dominant that it felt more like a glorified training session than anything else. There was precious little in the way of tracking back needed.
With Hungary next up on the fixture list, once again fans can rest assured as Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol stated that Gareth Southgate could make as many as ten changes to his starting lineup with the only player due to keep his spot for Tuesday’s fixture being John Stones.
Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho both started and were withdrawn for the first World Cup qualifier of the international break so there is also a good chance that Saka may not be involved at all as the Three Lions take on the team sitting 40th in the FIFA rankings.
England ran out 4-0 winners in the first meeting of this group tie and could inch ever closer to securing top spot in Group I with second place Albania taking on Poland in a crucial clash on the same day.
Saka looks set to get a break (something he and the coaching staff may argue isn’t needed) and Mikel Arteta will be a happy man. It doesn’t look like being the same for Smith Rowe though, who is due to start his second England Under-21 game in five days as they take on Andorra on Monday.
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