Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka came off the bench in the 2-0 loss to Belgium last night, and his performance didn’t go unnoticed by the England boss Gareth Southgate.
The youngster came off the bench with his side already 2-0 down, and went onto impress despite not managing to turn the score around.
Saka created the joint-most chances in the match, despite featuring for just over half of the encounter.
The 19 year-old wasn’t alone in coming in for praise by the England boss however, but is definitely within a strong shout of making the final squad for the European Championships next summer.
‘I’m so impressed with the performance of the players,’ said the England boss after the final whistle (via the Metro).
‘We’ve learned a lot about a lot of players, not only their ability, but their mentality.
‘There were several players who it’s the very early stages of their international careers, who were excellent.
‘Jack [Grealish] is the obvious one, his performance was outstanding, but I also thought Bukayo as well.
‘Coming into a game like that as a very young player, against an experienced player like [Thomas] Meunier.
‘He had an excellent game on the left when he came into it.
‘Tyrone [Mings] as well, that’s a level up from the games he’s been in with us before.
‘But also some other experienced players who played very well.
‘So I take a lot of positives from it, although obviously we don’t want to lose football matches.’
Last night’s appearance was Saka’s first competitive outing for the Three Lions, but he also impressed in the friendly wins over both Wales and the Republic of Ireland, and as the season draws on, he will surely continue to feature for Southgate’s side.
Saka is still less very much in the early stages of his career, but is already showing his worth to both club and country, and while the bookmakers may not make him odds-on to make the tournament, I would be very shocked if he was fit and was to be overlooked.
Do you expect Saka to be on the plane next summer?