Gary Neville eerily predicted Bukayo Saka would leave England squad early | Football

Bukayo Saka reported for England duty carrying an injury (Photo: Getty)

Gary Neville’s powers of premonition are strong as he correctly predicted that Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka would pull out of the England squad during the March international break.

On Thursday evening it was announced that Saka had left the Three Lions camp and would play no part in the upcoming friendlies against Brazil and Belgium.

The winger reported for international duty carrying an injury and did not take part in training on Wednesday alongside four other players, including captain Harry Kane who has been ruled out for Saturday’s clash with Brazil.

Saka has returned to Arsenal to continue rehabilitation on the injury and Gunners fans will be hoping it’s nothing serious with a huge clash against Premier League title rivals Manchester City next Sunday.

Curiously, on Thursday morning Neville was speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, brought to you by Sky Bet, when he said this: ‘I’ve got a good feeling that one of Bukayo Saka, Declan Rice or Phil Foden will pull out of the second England game in this break.’

While Saka left a bit earlier than anticipated, Neville can take some pride in this prediction, later adding: ‘The Arsenal players may not pull out of the England games because they’ve had an extra few day’s rest as they weren’t in the FA Cup.

‘But there is a part of me that thinks they need to keep up momentum and continue playing, especially when England have two games against tough opposition in Brazil and Belgium.

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - SV Darmstadt 98 v Bayern Munich - Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor, Darmstadt, Germany - March 16, 2024 Bayern Munich's Harry Kane receives medical attention after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

Harry Kane will miss England vs Brazil with an ankle injury (Photo: Reuters)

‘I think Harry Kane might pull out the second game. He might play one game or do a deal.

‘We refer to it because of [Erling] Haaland and [Kevin] De Bruyne. I called it a couple of weeks ago – I said there’ll be pull outs in March, and straight away the two best players for City are out.’

The situation is a massive headache for Gareth Southgate with Saka and Kane two of his most important players and these friendlies are his last chance to assess the squad before Euro 2024.

But Neville has claimed that the March international break is terribly timed for club football, adding: ‘Obviously, I coached with Roy Hodgson for four years and when players pulled out when you knew they probably weren’t injured, you were furious. But that happened during our lives as well.

‘The clubs are thinking, “We’re playing the players, we’ve got a run-in and we can’t afford to lose them. We’ve got Champions League football, which is massive to us. Or we’re getting a title, Champions League quarter finals or semi finals”. And that’s why there’s that push and pull.

‘This March friendly is a bad one. It’s during a title run and Champions League games. This one should be replayed somewhere, in my opinion, because you’re really thinking “club” now, you’re not thinking about country. Country comes in sort of May, when the season’s finished and you’ve got a tournament.’

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