International Soccer

Arsenal’s winners & losers from March international break

The final international break of the season has now come to an end and Arsenal’s stars are flying back to London ahead of their huge clash with Manchester City on Sunday.

A few notable names missed out this month due to injury, with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Magalhaes all pulling out of international duty. A recent lack of minutes for Gabriel Jesus saw him miss out too, while Takehiro Tomiyasu and Thomas Partey were also kept back.

But, plenty of players did get time on the pitch.

Without further ado here are the highlights from Mikel Arteta’s squad during March’s international break.

Declan Rice

Rice lead England to face Belgium / Nigel French/Allstar/GettyImages

England may have failed to secure a win during the international break, but their draw with Belgium is a game that Declan Rice will never forget.

In what was his 50th appearance for England, Rice was tasked with captaining his nation for the very first time. A notion that left him ‘speechless’, Rice became the 10th Arsenal player to captain England, and first since Sol Campbell led the team out in 2005.

He played all 90 minutes of the Three Lions’ 1-0 defeat to Brazil and, naturally, the full allotted time against Belgium also. His efforts will have undoubtedly solidified his place on the plane to Germany.

David Raya

Raya missed out against France / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

Arsenal’s shot stopper David Raya will have been disappointed to miss out against France, especially when three goals were conceded in his absence.

He’s certainly not struggling for game time with the Gunners, but Raya played just 45 minutes during the break, all in Spain’s 1-0 loss to Colombia.

Spain boss Luis de la Fuente has been clear on his aims to offer opportunities to less experienced players, however, with Raya being hauled off against Colombia to make room for Real Sociedad’s Alex Remiro, who made his debut.

Oleksandr Zinchenko

Zinchenko will head to Germany / Rafal Oleksiewicz/GettyImages

Oleksandr Zinchenko was ecstatic after helping his side earn a place at Euro 2024 this summer.

Ukraine were trailing after 30 minutes, but came from behind to beat Iceland 2-1 and secure a place on the plane to Germany. Zinchenko came off the bench for the final 26 minutes of the game, after which a goal from Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk sealed qualification.

Zinchenko branded it a ‘dream’ game, and Ukraine will now take their place in a group with Belgium, Slovakia and Romania.

William Saliba

Saliba was called out by Deschamps / Catherine Steenkeste/GettyImages

France boss Didier Deschamps was quick to criticise William Saliba as he headed out on international duty. Despite being a key player in Arsenal’s title-chasing squad, Saliba has struggled to break into the national starting lineup.

Deschamps said Saliba ‘does things [he] doesn’t like’, leading to speculation around whether he will make the squad ahead of Euro 2024 at all.

Jakub Kiwior

Kiwior was a star for Poland / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

Jakub Kiwior enjoyed a fruitful break, carrying Poland to Euro 2024 via the play-offs.

He played all 90 minutes of their 5-1 victory over Estonia and then played all 120 minutes as Poland beat Wales on penalties to secure a Euros place.

He may have missed their best chance in the game, but Kiwior will be pleased to see his team head to Germany.

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