England sweat on Bukayo Saka in injury worry for Serbia Euro 2024 opener

Bukayo Saka could miss England vs Serbia this weekend due to fitness concerns (Image: GETTY)

Bukayo Saka is a fitness concern ahead of England’s Euro 2024 opener this weekend. The 22-year-old, who has netted 11 goals in 33 caps for his country, missed Arsenal’s final match of the Premier League season as well as several of England’s training sessions.

And there are fears the Gunners winger, who has been England’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons, may not be able to feature this Sunday.

England manager Gareth Southgate, with assistance from the Football Association’s medical team, has been overseeing Saka’s training regime.

Despite not starting either friendly against Bosnia & Herzegovina or Iceland and only playing 25 minutes as a substitute against the latter at Wembley, Saka remains a crucial part of Southgate’s strategy.

Southgate confirmed after Friday’s loss to Iceland that Saka had missed multiple training sessions. However, Saka himself still hopes to be fully fit and ready to start against Serbia in England’s first group match.

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His absence would be a significant setback for England, who will need to monitor his fitness this week and increase his intensive work to ensure he is prepared.

Saka was instrumental for Arsenal last season but showed signs of fatigue towards the end of the campaign.

He missed the final game of Arsenal’s campaign after injuring his groin during shooting practice. Meanwhile, Trent Alexander-Arnold is emerging as the favourite to start alongside Declan Rice in midfield.

The Liverpool defender produced two standout performances in England’s warm-up friendlies. Southgate may have given away a clue as to his intentions after handing Alexander-Arnold the No.8 shirt for the tournament.

Bukayo Saka has missed some of England’s training sessions (Image: GETTY)

Alexander-Arnold started in midfield against Bosnia before switching to right-back in the closing stages.

He then made a brief appearance against Iceland and, despite the outcome, his skill in possession left a lasting impression which could be a deciding factor.

Southgate has most of his team line-up sorted with Kieran Trippier likely to start at left-back, although Luke Shaw is hoping to be fit for the second match. Marc Guehi is expected to start at centre-half.

Jude Bellingham’s return to the team will be crucial, but the midfield selection remains the biggest conundrum with Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo also strong contenders.

Adam Wharton has also been included in the squad, but it’s Alexander-Arnold who might get the green light to face Serbia in England’s Euros opener next Sunday.

Southgate has also heavily suggested that he may rotate his squad throughout the tournament to keep things fresh. The defeat to Iceland served as a wake-up call, highlighting the need for greater quality in posession.

Alexander-Arnold is considered the group’s best passer and set piece-taker, which could prove pivotal in Southgate’s decision-making.

Source: https://www.express.co.uk/sport/football/1909411/England-Bukayo-Saka-injury-Serbia-Euro-2024