Bukayo Saka injured ankle during Arsenal’s win over Nottingham Forest but Mikel Arteta plays down injury

England’s Bukayo Saka limped off injured during Arsenal’s win over Nottingham Forest, raising concerns about whether he will be fit for the World Cup, which begins in three weeks’ time.

The Arsenal forward was outstanding early on during the match on Sunday, setting up Gabriel Martinelli’s opener with a fine cross. But on 27 minutes he was forced off the field, limping straight down the tunnel after briefly receiving attention to his ankle.

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Saka – set to be a key figure for England boss Gareth Southgate in Qatar – appeared to injure himself during a challenge with Forest defender Renan Lodi.

When asked if Saka’s injury could rule him out of the World Cup, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said: “Hopefully not. It was a bad kick, he was limping but I don’t see it further than that. It was both [foot and ankle], he got kicked a few times.”

Image: Arsenal's Bukayo Saka (left) and Nottingham Forest's Renan Lodi battle for the ball

“You hope he’s alright because he’s played a lot of football recently and he’s so key for Arsenal and England,” Clinton Morrison told Sky Sports News at the time of Saka’s withdrawal.

Arsenal went on to win the match 5-0, with Saka’s replacement Reiss Nelson scoring twice and setting up another, but there is now concern about 21-year-old Saka, who has four goals and five assists in the Premier League this season.

Image: Bukayo Saka leaves the pitch after picking up an injury in Arsenal's match against Nottingham Forest

Southgate is due to name his final 26-man squad for the World Cup on November 14, with the tournament starting on November 20. England’s first fixture comes a day later on November 21 against Iran.

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Analysis: Saka a contender to start for England, not just go

Image: Saka could be one of the poster boys for England at the World Cup

Sky Sports’ Sam Blitz at the Emirates Stadium:

“Saka was clearly uncomfortable after a challenge with Renan Lodi just after he set up Martinelli for Arsenal’s opener against Nottingham Forest.

“The 21-year-old tried to carry on, which could be interpreted as a good sign as the injury was not immediately serious, but the fact he went down again a few minutes later off-the-ball will have got Gareth Southgate’s pulse racing – especially given how unlucky the England manager has been with recent setbacks to Reece James, Kyle Walker and Kalvin Phillips.

“Arteta’s quotes on Saka’s injury are encouraging, hinting that the setback was purely impact-related and there appears to be no sign of strained ligaments or muscles.

Image: Saka (left) is one of the most in-form attackers going into Qatar

“Given the stakes that lie ahead for Saka at both club and international level, with Arsenal top of the league in a busy schedule and the World Cup round the corner, it was probably understandable as to why Saka was hauled off by Arteta – especially given how well his replacement Nelson did at the Emirates.

“Saka is such a vital figure for Arsenal and England too. He was one of the breakout players at Euro 2020 last year and his recent form for Arsenal – four goals and four assists in his last 12 games in all competitions – make him one of the form players going into the World Cup.

“With Phil Foden and Jack Grealish both in and out of the Manchester City team, Raheem Sterling struggling for form at Chelsea and question marks over whether Marcus Rashford and Jarrod Bowen will make the plane, Saka is a prime contender to start more tournament games for England this winter.

“England will be hoping that a further assessment on Saka’s injury does not bring up any nasty surprises from here.”

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Sourse: skysports.com

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