There was some confusion among Arsenal fans on Sunday night when summer recruit Albert Sambi Lokonga was left out of the matchday squad for Belgium’s latest World Cup qualifier with the Czech Republic.
After making his debut as a second-half substitute for Eden Hazard in the Red Devils’ match against Estonia on Thursday, it may have seemed that a regular spot in the squad was guaranteed for the Gunners’ new recruit.
But that has not been the case.
However, there is no need for Lokonga to fret. Unlike most managers, Roberto Martinez prefers to bring an inflated squad with him during international breaks. This instance saw him select 31 players, six more than the 25 Gareth Southgate selected for England.
Because of this method, it means that more players miss out on each matchday.
FIFA rules dictate that a team cannot have more than 12 players on the substitutes’ bench during a match, meaning as many as eight will be omitted from proceedings completely.
Lokonga has made a bright start to life in north London, although his arrival has coincided with the club’s worst start to a Premier League season in their 118-year history.
Losses to Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City meant Mikel Arteta’s men propped up the table going into the international break.
There will be a clamour to see Lokonga return to the starting XI after remaining an unused substitute during the 5-0 thrashing to Manchester City as well as the 6-0 win over West Brom in the League Cup.
But before the clash with Norwich City, the 21-year-old may be handed another cap by Martinez with Belgium travelling to Belarus for their third World Cup qualifier of the break.
Source by Football London