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Saka ruled out of England friendlies with Covid


London (AFP) – Bukayo Saka will miss England’s friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast after the Arsenal forward tested positive for the coronavirus.

Saka was forced to pull out on Thursday following his Covid test as the number of withdrawals from Gareth Southgate’s squad continues to rise.

The 20-year-old trained with England on Tuesday but was too unwell to take part in further sessions at St George’s Park.

Southgate has opted not to bring in a replacement for Saka at this stage.

“Bukayo Saka has left the England camp having tested positive for Covid-19,” a Football Association statement said.

“The Arsenal player had been isolating from the rest of the squad at St George’s Park since Wednesday and has now returned home.

“No further replacements are planned with a squad of 24 in place for the forthcoming fixtures.”

Since naming his 25-man squad last Thursday, Southgate had already seen Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Ramsdale, Tammy Abraham and Sam Johnstone withdraw due to fitness issues.

Tyrick Mitchell, Kyle Walker-Peters, Ben Foster and Ollie Watkins were called up to replace those absentees.

England face Switzerland on Saturday and Ivory Coast on Tuesday, with both matches at Wembley.

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