England 'could make bold Bukayo Saka call vs Slovakia' after fresh Euro 2024 injury update – Football News

England 'could make bold Bukayo Saka call vs Slovakia' after fresh Euro 2024 injury update

Bukayo Saka has been backed to play at left-back. (Image: Getty)

Gareth Southgate could make the bold decision to shift Bukayo Saka to left-back when England face Slovakia in the Euro 2024 round of 16 tonight, according to Alan Smith. However, the Arsenal icon isn’t convinced Southgate will pull the trigger despite uncertainty surrounding Kieran Trippier’s fitness.

Reports earlier this week suggested that Ezri Konsa was being lined up to fill in for Trippier on the left side of England’s defence.

The Aston Villa man operated as a centre-back and right-back under Unai Emery last season but never as a left-back. Regardless, Southgate looked set to give him the nod over Liverpool’s Joe Gomez.

But the England boss offered hope that Trippier would be fit to maintain his ever-present status at Euro 2024 following concerns about a calf injury.

Southgate confirmed that Luke Shaw was the only squad member not ready to start against Slovakia in Gelsenkirchen.

It squashed speculation surrounding Trippier and Phil Foden, who temporarily returned to the UK this week for the birth of his third child.

Amid uncertainty about the former’s fitness, multiple pundits have pinpointed Saka as a potential left-back option since the 0-0 draw with Slovenia last time out.

The 22-year-old started his career in the position before transitioning into one of Europe’s most exciting young wingers.

Kieran Trippier should be fit for England.

Kieran Trippier should be fit for England. (Image: Getty)

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Moving the Arsenal star into defence has also been mooted as a way to fit Cole Palmer into the starting line-up after his sensational first season at Chelsea and bright cameo against Slovenia.

While Gunners great Smith isn’t optimistic about the chances that Southgate would make such a drastic move, he has become the latest to endorse it as an option.

“If Shaw isn’t available, there’s been a lot of talk about putting Bukayo Saka at left back, which would be a bold move,” Smith told Prime Casino.

“I don’t think he’ll put Saka in there, but if Saka were to play there, then it gets another attack-minded player into the team and gives Cole Palmer another opportunity to impress.”

Smith wants to see other elements of England’s attack unchanged, including Jude Bellingham and Foden, amid criticism of their group-stage contributions.

He added: “I think I’d probably stick with Bellingham as that number 10, with Foden on the left.

“I would play Kobbie Mainoo next to Rice. If Southgate is going to be bold, he could put Saka at left-back.

“It would give England greater width on the left and Phil Foden more freedom to drift because Saka will overlap, which would make things a little bit more balanced.”

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1917097/England-team-news-Bukayo-Saka-Slovakia-Euro-2024