This is cruel, Chelsea and Arsenal stars set to miss the World Cup with England through injury
Arsenal star Bukayo Saka was last Sunday forced off through injury against Nottingham Forest in the EPL encounter and has since emerged as a doubt for contention in the World Cup matches later this month, a news that must have unsettled England manager Gareth Southgate.
The youngster was on the receiving end of some heavy challenges early on and was seen moving gingerly after making a burst into the Forest area. He received treatment before continuing. However, shortly before the hour mark, he went down once more and the Gunners decided he could not continue.
There is no doubt that Saka who has been a key figure for Arsenal this season, with the youngster helping the Emirates club to remain top of the EPL so far has similarly played an integral role in England’s quest for success in the forthcoming World Cup.
Sadly, Southgate has not only been left to sweat over Saka’s fitness and chances in the fast-approaching World Cup tournament, Chelsea’s Reece James and more recently Ben Chilwell’s injury must have left the 52-year-old England manager under more intense pressure as the World Cup dreams of the trio look over after Chilwell injured his hamstring in the dying minutes of the Blues Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday.
Chilwell who started the dead rubber game ahead of Marc Cucurella, stopped suddenly as he chased a ball rolling into touch. He lay on his back in agony and had to be helped from the pitch by members of Chelsea’s coaching staff at full time.
And with three weeks to go before Qatar, National Daily can confirm that Gareth Southgate will be anxiously waiting for news on his injured players.
Chilwell especially must have been quite embittered over his injury following his openess about his desperation to play at the World Cup.
Speaking after returning from injury in time for pre-season, he said: “The World Cup is a big motivation for me, as well as the season with Chelsea.
“If I play well between now and then I am confident I will be in the squad. That’s my mindset and I wasn’t worried.
“I dreamed of playing in the World Cup ever since I can remember, to know it is around the corner is more motivation than you know for me to see if I can establish my spot. Especially after the Euros which was a difficult time for me.
“I want to be the left-back in the team and I think we can do really well and go a long way. It would be amazing.
“It would be a highlight of not just my career but my life. So I am going to work for it for the next four months.”
And former England defender Rio Ferdinand speaking BT Sport confessed: “It’s so unfortunate for any player to have an injury but for someone who has had injuries prior to this it’s so disheartening. I’m sure he will come back from it though.”
And ex-Chelsea star Joe Cole added:”I feel his pain. I had problems at the back end of my career. It’s heartbreaking. As soon as it happens all you can think about is that it is so close to a World Cup.
“If it’s a hamstring injury usually the least you can hope for is 2-3 weeks before you get back onto the pitch. It’s really tough. I really feel for him.”
Should Chilwell fail to make Qatar, Southgate will have to turn to Luke Shaw, Kieran Trippier or perhaps even Bukayo Saka provided the Arsenal star is quick to recover.