By Dan Critchlow
England confirmed on Thursday that Ben White, Bukayo Saka, and Aaron Ramsdale had all been called up to their World Cup squad, with Gareth Southgate even hinting that Emile Smith Rowe might have got a call if not for his injury.
Yet the rest of the day’s squad announcements mostly just brought disappointment for Arsenal players.
Earlier in the day, Belgium confirmed that they wouldn’t be calling up Albert Sambi Lokonga, which wasn’t particularly surprising given his comments about Roberto Martinez.
Then Portugal announced their squad, with Cedric Soares, Fabio Vieira, and Nuno Tavares all dropping out for the final 26 after featuring in the preliminary squad.
The misfortune even extended to some former Gunners, with Bernd Leno missing out on the Germany squad to travel to Qatar.
Leno’s decision to leave Arsenal for Fulham was supposedly partly motivated by a desire to return to the international stage, so that exclusion was a particular disappointment.
Then on Friday, ex-Arsenal internationals Hector Bellerin and Donyell Malen missed out on the squads for Spain and the Netherlands respectively.
After all the injury problems Bielik has been through, making it into the World Cup squad is a big boost.
Given he’s missed more games than he’s played in the four seasons since leaving Arsenal (featuring in just 41% of Derby and Birmingham’s Championship squads), it’s fortunate enough that he’s fit to accept the call.
There are only a few squads left to name now, with Thomas Partey of Ghana and Omar Rekik of Tunisia the only other Arsenal players likely to receive a call-up to add to the nine players called up so far:
Martinelli and Jesus (Brazil), Tomiyasu (Japan), Xhaka (Switzerland), Saliba (France), Turner (United States), Saka, Ramsdale, and White (England).
As the World Cup takes place in a country where being LGBTQ+ is illegal, please also remember that “Qatari authorities have failed to investigate the deaths of thousands of migrant workers over the past decade, despite evidence of links between premature deaths and unsafe working conditions,” according to Amnesty International.
Source: Daily Cannon.