Saka 'hopefully not' a World Cup doubt - Arteta

7 months ago 10
Saka receives treatmentSaka looked in discomfort while receiving treatment before being withdrawn in the 27th minute

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he hopes the injury sustained by Bukayo Saka in Sunday's win over Nottingham Forest will not threaten the player's World Cup participation with England.

The 21-year-old, England's men's player of the year, is expected to be a part of Gareth Southgate's squad for Qatar.

"Hopefully not," Arteta said when asked if Saka was a World Cup doubt.

"It was a bad kick. Right from the beginning he was limping, but I don't see any further than that. Let's see how he is in the next couple of days.

"He got kicked a few times and he wasn't comfortable."

England's first World Cup fixture is against Iran on Monday, 21 November.

Saka, who has scored four goals in 20 England caps, was tackled heavily by Lodi in the opening minute against Forest.

He recovered to set up Gabriel Martinelli's opening goal but twice required treatment before being withdrawn after 27 minutes.

Saka was replaced by Reiss Nelson, who marked his first Arsenal appearance since August 2021 with two goals and an assist.

Nelson has spent time on loan at Hoffenheim and Feyenoord since making his Arsenal debut in 2017 and Arteta praised the 22-year-old for capitalising on a rare opportunity to shine.

"I think not only me but all his team-mates, all the staff are so happy for him because he is a kid that is really changing, he's really evolving, he's really maturing," said Arteta.

"He's showing every day how much he wants it and today he had the opportunity and he did extremely well because it helped us win the game."

Asked how Nelson has changed, Arteta added: "How mature he is, how focused he is in his profession.

"The way he talks, the way he reflects, the way he respects decisions, the way he is challenging everybody every single day.

"He is a joy of a kid. We all want him to be successful and do well. What he has done today for the team is something he really merits."

Victory returned Arsenal to the top of the Premier League table, two points above Manchester City.

"It is great to be there, we knew we had a difficult game ahead of us," Arteta said.

"It is always difficult to win in this league and we knew it was a tricky game after travelling [for the Europa League in midweek]. We played really well and scored some fantastic goals.

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