England boss Gareth Southgate has called up Bukayo Saka to his squad despite the Arsenal star’s persistent injury woes, but Wales boss Rob Page is not taking a risk on Tottenham’s Brennan Johnson.
Wales manager Rob Page has promised not to put Brennan Johnson’s health at risk by asking him to return for international duty should he suffer an injury.
Johnson will miss Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia in Cardiff on October 15 after suffering a hamstring injury on his first start for Tottenham against Arsenal in the North London derby.
Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed on Friday that Johnson will miss Tottenham’s Premier League trip to Luton this weekend but will be fit to return after the international break.
Page said: “The communication between us and Tottenham has been first class. It’s about having mutual respect. Both managers want a talented player so it’s about working together.
“I will not insist that he have to come away and that we play with him, risking his safety and health. I will not do that. But they also understand the importance of our sports.”
Page’s stance contrasts with that of England boss Gareth Southgate, who has called up Bukayo Saka to his squad despite the Arsenal star being injured. But Saka’s case is slightly different to Johnson as the winger could still be fit for the Gunners’ clash with title rivals Manchester City on Sunday.
England and Arsenal are also said to have reached an ‘agreement’ over Saka, with him likely to remain for the Three Lions’ opener against Australia next week. Injured players remain a constant point of contention for international owners in the ongoing club versus country dispute.
Page criticized Johnson’s former club Nottingham Forest after he missed Wales’ Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia in March.
Page said at the time that he should have been “stronger” in ensuring that Johnson arrived at the Wales camp to carry out his medical assessment of the 22-year-old forward.
Johnson has since joined Tottenham for £47.5 million – the second-highest transfer fee paid for a Welsh player after Gareth Bale – and he has been given a hugely impressive signing for Wales going forward in the post-Bale era. Is considered a person.
On talks with Tottenham over Johnson’s fitness status, Page said: “We’ve had very good talks with him, but ultimately his injury will decide whether he can get in or not.”
Wales really need to win both games of their November double-header to avoid defeat against World Cup semi-finalists Croatia and secure automatic qualification for next summer’s Euro 2024 in Germany.
Captain Aaron Ramsey was left out of the squad for the Croatia match with a knee injury and his Cardiff manager Erol Bulut has also ruled him out of matches against Armenia and Turkey in November.