No-one can deny that Gareth Southgate’s young England side played some scintillating football in yesterday’s opening game of the World Cup, and the Arsenal star Bukayo Saka certainly showed his class with two goals for England in their 6-2 win against Iran, which will surely have the rest of the World reassessing our chances of going all the way.
The Three Lions are now one of the favourites in the competition, although they started with Argentina and Brazil ahead of them in the betting. Saka was given a place in their starting XI ahead of Manchester City’s Phil Foden, although the Betway Insider Danny Murphy says he would have been just as happy if Foden, or even Jack Grealish, got the nod instead of the Arsenal star.
Interestingly Murphy, as well as predicting Saka to start against Iran, also correctly guessed the whole correct England starting XI yesterday, from Pickford in goal, to Harry Maguire in defence and the young Jude Bellingham in the middle of the park, so maybe Betway have a budding England manager on their books.
But back to the star of the show. At the Euro’s final in 2020, Saka missed the penalty that won Italy the trophy against England and it was hard for the youngster to take then.
Gareth Southgate backed him and continued to select him for national team duty and Saka completely justified his managers faith, scoring two brilliant goals in England’s amazing six-goal rout of Iran.
The Englishman is now set to become a key player for them at Qatar 2022.
The great Declan Rice, who was also chosen by Murphy, was also in fine form in a defensive midfield role and enjoyed watching Saka do damage to the Iranians.
After the match, the West Ham midfielder said about Saka via his club’s website: “It’s unbelievable what he’s done.
“It says everything about his strength of character. You saw what happened last summer, everyone was with him then.
“He is flourishing with Arsenal, he is playing with a smile on his face. You see him around the training ground, he is the happiest person around the place. We are all so happy for him.”
Saka has come a long way and the attacker will remain a key player for his club and country for the foreseeable future.
He has started the World Cup well, which will fill him with confidence ahead of the remaining games of the competition.
Maybe this time it really will be comng home, although Murphy has a gut feeling we will only get as far as the semi finals.
Let’s hope Danny is wrong this time!