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England face major fitness worry ahead of Euro 2024 opener

Published: Updated: 07:42, 11 Jun 2024
Bukayo Saka yet to get the fitness clearance for the opening game against Serbia

England's football team faces a potential setback ahead of their Euro 2024 opening match against Serbia. The key player in question is the talented forward, Bukayo Saka, whose fitness has become a significant concern for the team management.

Saka, who has been an integral part of Gareth Southgate’s squads since his first senior call-up in 2020, is currently dealing with a groin injury. This injury was sustained during shooting practice and resulted in him missing Arsenal’s final Premier League match against Everton. Despite being named England Men’s Player of the Year twice, his current fitness levels are not at their peak.

The young winger played no part in England’s Euro 2024 warm-up match with Bosnia and Herzegovina where goals from Cole Palmer, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Harry Kane sealed a comfortable win for the Three Lions. However, he did make it to the squad for last Friday’s defeat against Iceland as a second-half substitute for Anthony Gordon at Wembley. He managed to play only 25 minutes which further raised concerns about his fitness level.

Coaches managing Saka's training programme

According to The Daily Mirror report, Southgate along with England’s medical team are closely monitoring Saka's training programme ahead of this summer tournament in Germany. They aim to manage his recovery effectively without risking any further complications or exacerbating his existing condition.

Despite these concerns, it appears that Saka hasn't given up hope on starting this weekend. However, Southgate might consider resting him during the game versus Serbia to avoid any potential risk related to his injury. 

Southgate confirmed that due to these concerns over his health status; Saka had missed several training sessions recently but assured that they would keep a close eye on him over the coming days.

Other injury concerns in the camp

In addition to Saka, England manager also addressed concerns over possible injuries to defenders John Stones and Marc Guehi during his interaction with media post Friday’s friendly match. Manchester City’s John Stones was substituted at half-time against Iceland while Marc Guehi took a heavy blow to the head. However, he downplayed these concerns indicating that they are not as serious as Saka's condition.

England manager, Gareth Southgate, said:

‘With John we decided at half-time there was no point in taking any chances He’s a very important player for us. Marc is fine,’

As we approach Euro 2024, it remains to be seen how these fitness issues will impact England's performance and strategy. The fans and sports betting enthusiasts will undoubtedly keep an eye on these developments as they could significantly influence the outcome of this much-anticipated tournament.

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