Why isn’t Saka playing for England? “I’m a little bit surprised”

While we were watching England look toothless against Scotland, it could have been suggested that England only wanted a draw so as to try and not win the Group, obviously because of the great teams they could face in the next round.


Southgate could have engineered the perfect result, and that is the only reason I can think of that he left some of his most creative players, and therefore most likely to get the breakthrough against Scotland, on the bench.


Arsenal fans were pinning our hopes of seeing Bukayo Saka coming up against Kieran Tierney on Friday, and after the Gunners starlet was praised lavishly by Southgate after he scored the winner in England’s friendly against Austria, we surely expected to see him in the Group stages.


One person who thinks the same as me is the Arsenal legend Martin Keown, who told football.london After England ended scoreless against Scotland: “I think he is a player that can make things happen,”

“I’m a little bit surprised we haven’t seen more of him since his performance against Austria. He showed that he really had that cutting edge in that friendly. We’ll have to see what Gareth has got in mind, but there is such competition for places.

“There are five substitutes that the manager can make, so there will be opportunities to get everyone on. There are going to be occasions, and last night was one of them, where you’re going to have to go for it and play some of those really creative players all at once.”

I have a feeling that Southgate is going to give a few of his fringe player a run out against the Czechs this week, as he obviously doesn’t want to win!

A draw will guarantee progression and would mean that the Czech’s get to play either France, Germany or Poland. So maybe that means that Southgate will keep his best strikers on the bench again…

Tags England Keown Saka


  1. Well i love Saka but lets be honest in a team where Grealish has not started and sancho has not been played, i am not even a bit surprised that saka is not playing, saka cannot start, these players are ahead of him

    1. Krish what am about to say is not because am an arsenal fan, but Sancho is not better than Saka and I don’t think Foden is also better than him, put Saka in that man city team and see what he will do.

      1. I do think that what you are saying is solely because you are an arsenal fan.. i love saka and one day maybe he can be the better player out of these three but right now sancho is clear and foden is clear too, saka arguably wouldn’t even start in that man city team where mahrez has difficulty to start

      2. I agree, I’ve been saying the same thing all year put saka in man City or any of the “big 6 teams” and he would not only flourish but excel passed the like of foden and grealish and that is no disrespect to those pkayers

    2. Grealish is not better than Saka or more valuable than Saka. Saka is more versatile and more direct and dangerous di on the attack. His finishing and team play is better

  2. SAka is a great player who despite poor back up has shown his ability ,compared to players who have a fantastic back up team.
    He is able to play in any position and can ,line Grealish, cause panic in the opposition half.

  3. Simple answer, the coach is an average coach and this is why England always may never win any major tournament. What kind of result do you expect from a coach that used 2 Holding midfielders against Scotland.

  4. I was also surprised when Southgate chose to bring Grealish and Rashford in as substitutes, instead of Saka. I understand Southgate might want to use a conventional RW to reach the byline, but he should’ve used a more unorthodox tactic

    Saka is more versatile than other players in England squad, so he’s highly useful for various tactics. I’m afraid he’ll never play in Euro though, because Southgate seems to be too cautious when facing a high pressing opposition

    1. Sala wasn’t even o the bench so he could not be a sub..

      Saka was not expected to play much, which is why I was hoping he would not make the team. His only chance at minutes was if game 3 was a meaningless game.

  5. One of the best groups of English players in decades and the FA stick Southgate in charge of them .
    Pretty much in the same mould as a certain manager in charge of our club .
    Would have loved to have seen Wenger take charge of England imagine the kind of football we would be witnessing with him overseeing this group of players .

      1. Croatia would have scored a hatful of goals! The likes of France, Germany, Portugal would stick 5 or more past us!

    1. The goals scored will still be greater than goals conceded, just like Portugal Vs German: 4-2. Cup is half full or half empty depends on your views. For Arsene haters, all things against Arsene are proven wrong.

      1. Im a Wenger realist, not a hater, and 14 years straight not being competitive in the league, 9 years straight winning nothing, and last 7/8 years in Europe a complete joke, has proven all Wenger realists right!

        1. As an Arsenal fan, you don’t know that the bench is thin during the time Arsenal has to pay for the stadium. You should not call yourself an Arsenal fan. I admit Arsene failed in his last 2 years when he can spend money but not 9 years. Your logic is out of the world and can qualified you as Arsene hater.

          You should blame that the owner never come out money to get a few players to win the titles.

          I don’t blame MA because he was chosen by the owner although he is not qualify.

          Please think with logic and commonsense.

          1. Of course I accept it became harder to be successful what with the ill fated move to the Emirates, and the EPL becoming more competitive, but it has been ridiculous to keep using those excuses for well over a decade. Especially when so many mistakes made, were actually nothing to do with a lack of funds.

            And in regards to a lack of funds, well AW and IG caused their own problems as they were clueless when selling, but more often than not, they let contracts run down, thus the players had barely any sell in value, and all the power.

            2016 was the perfect example as to how bad Wenger had become. That year we finished above City, Utd, Chel, Spurs, and Liverpool, yet not only could we still not manage to win the league, we didn’t even challenge for it! Wenger got handed the league on a Silver platter, yet still managed to mess it up!

          2. This reply is to TMJW as his reply has no reply button.

            TMJW: “it has been ridiculous to keep using those excuses for well over a decade”
            Rebuttal: It is a fact and not excuse. What’s your thinking process? I will not dispute with you if you talk about Arsene 2017 and 2018 seasons.

            TMJW: “AW and IG caused their own problems as they were clueless when selling”
            Rebuttal: Nonsense! Clueless when selling! Not enough players, how to sell! YOU NEVER WATCH ARSENAL MATCHES. YOU NEVER HEAR THAT THE COMMENTATORS TALKED ABOUT THIN BENCH? Arsenal have been selling the best players because of funds (owners’ fault) and players’ ambition. Where are you during those years?

            TMJW: “2016 was the perfect example as to how bad Wenger had become.
            Rebuttal: You accept MA’s 8th position for 2 seasons and support him with all sort of excuse in JA. May I asked you, 2nd is worse than 8th. If your son from rank 2nd position in class drops to 8th position in class; you celebrate with him. When your son ranked 2nd position in class, you don’t celebrate with him. What type of logic you have???????

            Anyway, THE FACT IS: HE IS STILL BETTER THAN MA, still in top 6.

          3. Haha, no reply button for me either Kenny.

            I stand by that statement. One can excuse the odd season here and there due to the stadium debt, but not for over a decade, and as said, especially when so many of our issues were not money related. I will back this up with facts.

            1 – Arsenal still spent plenty of money, but Wenger refused point blank to bring in quality defenders, and as we know, completely ignored the DM position. Nothing to do with stadium debt, or rivals spending more money.

            2 – Wenger kept faith with players that were clearly not good, or fit enough, for a ridiculous amount of time! Nothing to do with stadium debt, or rivals spending more money.

            3 – We were far too attacking under Wenger, and tactics were so predictable, hence our poor record against quality teams. What kind of coaching was being done? Nothing to do with stadium debt, or rivals spending more money.

            4 – We could have spent hundreds of millions more, but AW and IG consistently sold on the cheap or let players contracts run down. We should have got around 200 million or more for Ozil, Ramsey, and Alexis, yet we didn’t just get NOTHING, we actually continued to lose millions with Ozil’s insane contract, and Miki’s huge pay packet as well. Letting Alexis get down to his final year, rejecting 60 million, and then swapping him with 6 months left for one of Utd’s worst players, was as bad a business deal you’ll ever see! Nothing to do with stadium debt, or rivals spending more money.

            5 – Consistently buying players that were not even needed, and ignoring the weak areas of the squad almost every transfer window. Best example. Spending your entire transfer budget strengthening your already strongest area of the squad when we signed Ozil. I think at the time, we already had around 5/6 central attacking midfielders, and had only signed Santi the year before, who also just had an excellent season. We were begging for a DM and CF, basically every other position needed an upgrade, yet was ignored. Nothing to do with stadium debt, or rivals spending more money.

            In regards to MA. Absolutely brilliant first season! To win a trophy and qualify for Europe considering what he inherited, and the fact we were in relegation form at the time he arrived, was a remarkable achievement. To put 8th place on him, from half a season as a negative is completely unfair.

            The season just gone, was not great and MA made many mistakes. We were shocking at the start of the season, but final 24 league games we were second in the form table, with the 3rd best defense overall. That tells me that MA is learning as a coach, and is improving. It was that horrific start that cost us. There was also a lot of other stuff going on last season as well which he had to deal with. It wasn’t until Jan when me managed to ditch a lot of troublemakers, and it’s no coincidence our form and mood around the camp improved.

            I have a lot of respect for MA because he could have taken the easy route, and just worked with what he had, without making any major changes. But I guess playing under Wenger, MA is well aware of the deep routed cultural problems at Arsenal, and he’s had to make some bold decisions to turn things around.

          4. Forgot to add, that yes 8th is poor and a lot worse than 2nd.

            But let me remind you, that MA has only had one full season, just one! AW only finished as high as 2nd twice in 14 years straight. That is a shocking record, especially when you’ve just won 3 league titles in 6 years, and finishing runners-up in all but one of the other seasons pre 2005. The rot had well and truly set in long before MA or even UE took over.

  6. As much as I think Saka would be better than Sterling, I’m more surprised Sancho and Grealish didn’t start.

  7. I would say only Italy, France, Spain and to a small extent Germany have a majority of their players with GENUINE natural talent.

    All these other countries (England, Belgium etc) have a bunch of players who are only good because of the good systems they play in at the club’s…

    Nothing special with them really.

    Debruyne, Fernandez, Sancho, Foden, and all other players people keep “bigging up” are very average when you put them in static systems like the English and Arsenal systems.

    1. A laughably risible post! Anyone who can seriously claim that those you list and a great number besides ( who you excludesimply by their nationality) who are “very average” has made themselves look ridiculous and a laughing stock. Grow up, for goodness sake!

  8. Its shocking how arsenal fans are overestimating the current saka.. he IS a superb player but in no way does he start over grealish, sancho and foden..
    Saka is better than greenwood..
    But it doesn’t even matter who starts its all about southgate that he is just a bad manager

    1. Krish you are entitled to your opinion, if you really believe Sancho who is not even the best player at Dortmund in a easy German league is better than Saka then good for you. And about Foden, let him play in different positions like Saka and still score goals and assist like Saka or let him be coached by an average arteta and come back and tell me he’s better than Saka. The differences between Foden and Saka is that one is playing in a team coached by a world class manager and supported with billions of pounds and the other plays under a novice coach supported by an owner who doesn’t really care about football. Man city have de brune gundogan Mahrez who makes things easy for him.

      1. I agree. Saka brings something different that grealish and foden bring. We all know Harry Kane is the best striker England has but he might not be the best for this tournament or for this team of players right now. I think Calvert lewin at some stage should start over Kane if Kane again is ineffective in our next game. It’s a game by game scenario. Look at mings right now. Would you replace him with Harry McGuire?

  9. Saka has plenty of time on his side,but as usual certain contributors to this site never miss an opportunity to criticise the Manager.Steve Clark is doing a very good job for Scotland with limited resource s ,so perhaps he should be considered for the Arsenal job when a vacancy arises?He is experienced and knows the English leagues inside out.

    1. Good shout Grandad. I just can’t see our board changing the appointment of MA anytime soon meaning he is here for the full season: 2021 – 22.

      I know many here are saying that if we do not do well by Dec he will be gone, but I do not agree because of the politics in the hierarchy and our board.

      1. I will be majorly surprised if MA is not still our manager in 18 months time at very least. If the reported so called “war chest” is to REALLY be available for Edu and MA this summer , then that tells me that Kroenke is trusting them both to be around for the foreseeable future.
        However IF, summer spending is the usual and expected (at least by me), peanuts, THEN it may welll be a totally different future plan by Kroenke.

        But even then I believe he will be most reluctant to change manager or CEO, for the simple reason that it will cost real money to bring in a bigger and proven world name as manager.

        I hope he will do so TBH but do not see it happening anytime soon. Wiser fans know there is a world of difference between what they want and what usually happens. Life itself works that way, let alone football. As I do not see MA or Edu leaving anytime soon, I will continue to support both while they are in post, despite my private wishes for change.
        I do see possibilities and some actual evidence that both may grow into the jobs and prove me wrong.

  10. I much like and much RATE Saka but my unbiased brain tells me he is not first choice in this current England squad and, barring injuries, I see him playing not a minute or at most a very few minutes late on, while Southgate is resting his preferred wide players.

    Most probably he will not set foot on the field in this tournament.

  11. I for one am actually pleased Saka isn’t playing. He was overplayed last season and going to the Euros immediately after the season puts him at serious risk of an injury. Of course, I know he wants to play, but at least on England’s bench, he’s getting the rest his body so desperately needs. Hopefully he’ll be fully fit and rating to go on August 14th.

  12. Agree with you @Jachike. It would be heart breaking for him to be injured at the of the season. And if people believe Foden is better than Saka, good for them. Foden has a powerful shot in him but Saka’s versatility is outrageously good. One of these days we should give him Leno’s gloves! Let the older players play for now, saka will get his chance

  13. Arteta said that he and southgate had some discussion regarding saka. And I suppose Gareth is trying to prevent the young lad from burning out. So, the absurd view of foden/sancho/grealish better than saka is none of my business because as far as am concerned saka needs to decompress.

    1. So first Arteta was benching players and sending them on loan to protect them at the club now he is interfering with international manager’s plan to protect his players…hahaha really dude? Is it Saka who is prone to burnout where as other regulars in English team who have played almost same amount as him are not. Saka and other young players should be lesser of risk to burn out as they are young and their recovery time is better then some of old players it’s called science not to mention Saka will not be regular starter for England in recenten times so stop putting spin on things to give credit to Arteta trying to protect Saka.

  14. Sorry to say but Southgate is an avg manager and that shows in his team selection before English fans jump on me to point to world cup semi final spot let me remind you that you played below avg teams as soon as you came across better quality you guys lost like you lost against Belgium in group match and also against Croatia in Semi. A manger who puts Grelish and Sancho on the bench shows his defensive mind set. Also I think Saka can not be a starter as if now but when you are struggling he can be a great player to bring on as he is a creator and runner with ball not to mention he can play various role. Southgate should have started with first two and brough Saka on in second half. Also if Kane is struggling then bench him why not play Rashford that gives you more pace upfront.

  15. I do believe saka is as good as any player in his position for England but as an Arsenal fan I secretly hope he doesn’t get played and stays fit for start of new season!!

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors
JustArsenal Top Ten UK Blogs