England qualified for UEFA Euro 2024 with a 3-1 win against Italy at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night, and there was at least one Arsenal player involved in every round of the Three Lions’ qualifying campaign.
Going back to the beginning of Group C on March 23, then-West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice opened the scoring for England, who would go on to win 2-1 against Italy in Napoli, with a left-footed strike into the ground. Bukayo Saka also played 85 minutes.
Three days later, Saka’s curling strike beautifully made it 2-0 after Harry Kane scored the first, which was assisted by Saka, against Ukraine at Wembley Stadium. Saka and Rice both played 90 minutes.
Fast forward three months, Rice and Saka played 90 and 46 minutes respectively of England’s comfortable 4-0 win away to Malta.
At the beginning of the following week, Saka only needed to play 58 minutes to score a hat-trick, including a sumptuous volley, at Old Trafford in England’s 7-0 win against North Macedonia, which Rice also played 58 minutes of.
Into the first international break of this season, Saka played 86 minutes and Rice once again got the full 90 as England were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine, fellow Gunner Oleksandr Zinchenko opening the scoresheet that day.
Aaron Ramsdale came into the fray on September 12 as he and Rice both played the full 90 minutes in a 3-1 win against Scotland at Hampden Park, while Saka came on in the 71st minute.
Earlier this month, Eddie Nketiah was handed his Three Lions senior debut by Gareth Southgate, coming on in the 73rd minute of a 1-0 win against Australia, as he was offered the chance to stake his claim in Southgate's squad for the Euro 2024 tournament in Germany next summer.
Last but not least, England secured qualification with an impressive 3-1 win at home to Italy and, as usual, Rice was there to control the midfield from start to finish.
With two games still to go in the group against Malta and North Macedonia in November, Rice has played a total of 598 minutes, while Saka has been involved for 394 minutes.
Hoping to join England are Zinchenko and Ukraine, who are second in Group C following October's results, three points ahead of Italy but having played one game more. Ukraine v Italy promises to be a decisive game on November 20, three days after Italy's penultimate match against North Macedonia.