Arsenal legend Ian Wright offers verdict on Bukayo Saka injury

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Ian Wright played down the possibility of Bukayo Saka missing next month’s World Cup after the 21-year-old was injured in Arsenal’s convincing win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday afternoon. Saka has emerged as one of the Premier League’s finest young wingers over the last few seasons and is widely expected to play a major role for England in Qatar after impressing at the Euros just over a year ago.

Saka’s hopes of playing at the World Cup were thrown into doubt on Sunday, though, when he was replaced in the first half by Reiss Nelson after failing to shake off an early knock. However, Wright does not believe that the injury will keep Saka out of the England squad later this year, with the 58-year-old suggesting that it could be a slight knee problem that should clear up fairly quickly.

“I think he might have tweaked the inside of the knee,” Wright told Premier League Productions. “He looks upset but it’s like what we saw with [Raphael] Varane, when it’s this close to the tournament.

“He doesn’t look destitute. He doesn’t look like he’s saying: ‘Oh my god, this is going to cause me a problem for the World Cup.’ But at the same we’re three weeks away and it’s the inside of the knee. Hopefully it’s not too bad.”

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Wright’s assessment of Saka’s injury was echoed by fellow pundit Owen Hargreaves, who also insisted that the Arsenal forward should have been substituted by Mikel Arteta at the earliest opportunity rather than being allowed to play on.

“[I] definitely hope not, he’s such a fabulous young player,” said Hargreaves when quizzed on whether Saka could be ruled out of a place in the England squad for the World Cup. “I think he twists his ankle, let’s hope he’s alright. I’d have him starting for England on the right-hand side. He was limping, he played on when he probably shouldn’t have.”

Saka initially appeared to pick up the knock when he was clattered by Forest defender Renan Lodi in the early stages of Saturday’s game at the Emirates Stadium. He got back to his feet shortly afterwards and tried to run it off but was eventually forced to call it a day just before the half-hour mark, with Arsenal going on to register a 5-0 win to move back to the top of the Premier League table.

Arteta will be sweating on Saka’s fitness over the next few days as he waits to discover the extent of the injury, with the England ace’s form having been crucial to Arsenal’s flying start to the Premier League season. He has already chipped in with four goals and five assists since the beginning of the campaign and managed to set up Gabriel Martinelli’s opener against Forest before he was replaced in the first half.


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