England manager Gareth Southgate is hoping for a positive update on Bukayo Saka after selecting the Arsenal star despite fears over his fitness.
Having failed to finish the matches against Tottenham and Bournemouth, the 22-year-old again left the field early in Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Lens.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta admitted afterwards that it “didn’t look good” for Saka, yet the forward was still named in Southgate’s 26-man squad two days later.
“He’s still being assessed,” Southgate said of Saka, who faces a race to be involved for Arsenal against Manchester City on Sunday before attention turns to international matters.
“Obviously, they’ve got a big game this weekend and then there’s another seven days before we play Australia and 10 days before we play Italy as well.
“So, everybody will monitor everything as we go forward.”
England could wrap up their place at Euro 2024 this month, with the Wembley qualifier against Italy following their friendly under the arch against Australia.
Uncapped Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah got the nod along for the October fixtures, while Ollie Watkins received his first call-up since March 2022 and Jarrod Bowen returned for the first time since that September.
But there was no place for Mason Mount, James Ward-Prowse or Raheem Sterling, with the latter having not added to his 82 caps since the 2022 World Cup.
Asked if he spoke to Chelsea forward Sterling like he did last month, Southgate said; “No, we spoke before the last squad.
“We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas – I mean, he scored five in seven games, he’s playing really well.
“With the Australia game as well, there’s an opportunity to learn some different things as well.”
On Watkins, who Southgate saw score a hat-trick for Aston Villa against Brighton at the weekend, he said: “There’s a little bit with Callum Wilson as well, so he’s carrying an injury.
“Not certain he’d be available. Ollie has started the season well. He’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks.
“You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias when you’re looking at selection, but he is in good form.
“He’s obviously coming in on a high and he’s been with this before.
“We know his character, we know his personality. He’s a good guy around the around the group.
Ben Chilwell and Eberechi Eze join Wilson in missing this month’s matches through injury, while Harry Maguire, Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips retain their place despite questions over their spots.
John Stones returned having missed a September camp that ended with a 3-1 win in Scotland, who are vying with England for Elliot Anderson’s international future.
The 20-year-old left the last Scottish camp after two days following his first call-up to the full squad and last week indicated he wanted more time to consider his international future.
“So, I think we’re the same as Steve. We’re respectful that those sorts of decisions are big decisions and we don’t want to pressure anybody.
“We like Elliot, we think he’s a very good player, got high potential.
“He’s obviously at a club that are absolutely flying, so, yeah, we’ll just have to wait and see.
“But we’re very much respectful that if he needs time to think that through we completely understand.”