GRANIT XHAKA is delighted Arsenal teammates Aaron Ramsdale and Bukayo Saka will be missing for England’s clash with Switzerland.
But the Swiss skipper, 29, insists he does not fear a Three Lions midfield brimming with talent.
Gunners pair Ramsdale and Saka were originally named in Gareth Southgate’s squad to take on Switzerland and Ivory Coast in friendlies during this international break.
Keeper Ramsdale was ruled out with a hip injury suffered against Liverpool on March 16, while Saka left the camp on Thursday having tested positive for Covid-19.
Southgate still has a lot of options ahead of their Wembley clash tomorrow evening – yet Xhaka knows just how influential his north London pals are.
Asked about the presence of Arsenal players in the current England squad – with Ben White and Emile Smith-Rowe also set to feature – Xhaka said: “Two of them are not playing so that is good.
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“We know the quality they have. Of course, they have a very good generation now, playing well, not only in the national team but with Arsenal as well.
“So, we are happy Saka and Aaron are not playing tomorrow.
“But I think England have a very strong with a lot of young players, and they have experienced players as well.
“They had a very good Euros at home and lost the final but we have to look after ourselves and try to beat England.”
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England and Switzerland may already be heading to Qatar in November, but Xhaka will have his hands full this weekend as he attempts to try and nullify one of the most talented midfields in world football.
Southgate can call on the likes of Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham in the middle, while Phil Foden and Jack Grealish will also be threats from wide.
Yet Xhaka is far from worried. He added: “Of course, they have good players in midfield but for me it is not like I have never played against them.
“I know them very well, played against them in the Premier League and for me it is not a big difference to play against them for the national team.”
Xhaka has made a remarkable recovery at Arsenal under boss Mikel Arteta, and is now a pivotal player in a side that looks likely to make the Champions League next season.
But asked what he has put this revival down to, Xhaka said: “We are doing very well at the moment but there are still nine games to play.
“We have to see what happens in those next games and afterwards you can ask me again how good the season was.”
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