Saka becomes the 4th Arsenal man to score a hattrick for England – Here are the other three….

Yesterday Bukayo Saka did what only three previous Gunners have managed in our history, he’s scored a hat trick for England.

Some will argue how competitive fixtures against the likes of Macedonia are.

Yet, that would be unfair on Gareth Southgate who has managed to keep his squad hungry and motivated for international duty after a gruelling season.

Previous Three Lion bosses have failed to do that. I can name you famous names who have admitted fear of pulling on the white shirt, and who would have been preoccupied this week about their summer holidays.

I can name you legends who of course got 3 points in this type of fixture because the limitations of the opposition dictate the outcome is a foregone conclusion.

They didn’t have the personality to express themselves though, or take the opportunity to boost their stats.

Such is the gulf between the two sides at Old Trafford last night perhaps the only thing a manager can learn from individuals is their personality.

If ever there was an evening, you could have forgiven players for going through the motions, it was the final game of a campaign which has included a World Cup bang in the middle of it.

Qualification for the Euros already looked a formality with the hardest tie (away in Italy) chalked off.

Physically and mentally, Saka has been tested as much as any of his peers this year. As Arsenal finished runners up in a League they had topped for the majority of time, the 21-year-old looked exhausted, with perhaps Arteta guilty of not resting his midfielder. Big pressure has been put on young shoulders at the Emirates.

So, if anybody was entitled to complain of burn out it would be Saka.

Yet instead he showcased the only plus points a coach can take from such one-sided matches.

Who has the bravery to demand the ball?

Who wants to take responsibility?

Who takes initiative instead of waiting to be told what to be doing?

Who doesn’t fear making a mistake?

Who has the courage to try something different instead of playing the safe pass?

Saka did all of those things, best reflected by his second goal. Three touches that take self-belief. First controlling a long ball, not letting it hit the ground, hanging it up so he could touch with his chest, allowing the ball to bounce, before unleashing a volley into the corner.

A youngster not in awe of anything, not just doing enough to appease his seniors, simply taking centre stage.

I can name you legends for their club’s side who couldn’t do what Saka did on Monday.

Grown men who lifted Prems and Champions League who were crippled by anxiety when they represented their nation.

That’s evidence by how many Arsenal players were capped by England, yet Saka is only the 4th to get a hat-trick ……

Ted Drake

Any Gooners old enough to remember Ted Drake’s treble (fittingly at Highbury) against Hungary in December 1936?

Many Gunners earnt more than Drake’s 5 caps and yet didn’t manage a hat trick, making his goal to game ratio for his national team impressive.

International career dictated by events complete out of the sports control.

Only 4 players in history have scored more goals for the Arsenal then Drake.

Due to England’s strained relationship with FIFA, Drake missed out on playing at a World Cup.

Viewed as one of the best strikers in the country at the time, at the age of 27 his career was essentially ended by World War 2, which led to him joining the Royal Air Force.

When he was on leave from duty, he still played for Arsenal, in fixtures not deemed official and therefore not counting towards his stats.

He scored 139 goals for the Gunners in 186 games.

His honours include three League titles and one FA Cup.

Scored 6 goals in 5 caps, events outside of football meaning he never got really got an international career.

He made the most of the short time he had representing his country.

A hero on and off the pitch

Ian Wright

England had to wait another 57 years for a Gunner to score a hat trick for England.

You won’t find too many occasions where a player manages the feat and barely manages a smile, yet alone a celebration. When you consider the man scoring 4 goals that evening always had an affectionate smile, you know there must be serious context to wipe away his grin.

Each time he scored against San Marino, Wright would take the ball and rush it back to the halfway line to resume the match.

He knew that World Cup qualification was out of the English hands, needing a win by a 7-goal margin to have even half a chance.

The cruel irony was when he needed goals Graham Taylor was finally putting his trust in our striker, but it was too little too late.

Despite winning the Golden Boot in 1992, Wright was not selected for that year’s Euros and never forgave the manager for his lack of opportunities until after his retirement.

Wright remains one of the greatest Gunners to never have played in an international tournament.

Theo Walcott

In only his second competitive start for his country a 19-year-old Theo Walcott scored his first goals for his country in Croatia, the youngest Englishman to score a hat trick.

It was an individual performance that made the World stand up, the first time the Croatians had lost in Zagreb and a first home defeat in 35 qualification games.

On paper the toughest match in the group, against the team that had stopped us from going to that year’s Euros, this was confirmation that England were back on the right track under Fabio Capello, perhaps our best performance under the Italian?

It was one of Walcott’s best individual displays as he linked up brilliantly with Wayne Rooney.

Rooney would drop deep, allowing Theo to interchange into the central role he craved to play in. His pace was electric, finishing clinical and it seemed impossible on this evidence that our winger wouldn’t be going to the World Cup.

He didn’t get on the plane to South Africa, dropped for Lennon, Milner and Wright Phillips.

It was the latest bizarre moment in the international career of Theo Walcott.

At 16 he’s taken to a World Cup, despite yet to play a second in the top division. 4 years later when he’s playing in the Champions League, he’s then deemed not good enough.

His critics would suggest that Walcott never developed his footballing intelligence from nights like this one in Croatia.

Capello has since admitted he made a mistake not selecting Theo for the World Cup.

Walcott, now a free agent at the age of 34, is still to kick a ball at a World Cup.

So, Saka is only the 4th Gunner to score a hattrick for England, the first to do so in a Euros qualifier.

Now is his time for a well-deserved rest.


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Tags England Macedonia Saka


  1. Just read we’ve actually bid 90 million for Declan Rice.

    Just pull the plug immediately. No midfielder is worth that kind of money, especially not a defensive midfielder.

    W Ham is taking us for fools and no club are clown enough to pay that kind of money they want.

  2. When Walcott still had his blistering pace, he was one of the most dangerous RWs in EPL. After losing his pace, he couldn’t play on the left wing

    Luckily, Saka is an inverted winger, so he doesn’t really rely on his pace

    1. No he wasn’t, because despite his pace he couldn’t run with a ball. His control has always been terrible.

      He he’s had a few really good runs/goals in his career but besides that he’s done very little.

  3. You get the feeling Saka is going to massive and may go on to achieve a little than those before him.

    Everything seems set for him to goes on and do amazing things in his career.
    He has a Sterling connection, under the perfect tutelage, perfect club.

    As simple as it may seem to us all, his presence will strengthen Declan Rice resolves in joining Arsenal.

      1. I want Rice
        He makes us better
        It’s all relative
        Is it any more madness then 80 pound for a shirt ?
        Any more madness then ticket prices ?
        Any more madness then our TV subscriptions ?
        If we are paying over the odds as customers we should be paying to see winning football and good players

      2. Speak for yourself pal. It’s mostly Kroenke’s money, if he thinks it’s okay to do a LA Rams at Arsenal then who are we to object?

        1. He hasnt done a LA Rams
          He first had major control at Arsenal over a decade ago and the club have regressed
          Under his regime we finished in our worse league finish in quarter of a century

          It’s now two decades since we won the title but that’s okay?
          Ticket prices , merchandise , subscriptions rise but how dare we expect to pay the going rate for a player

      3. PJ-SA: Arsenal has to be patient here.

        When there is a genuine interest from the player to join your club, your approach will be a little different, you are not expected to pay the same inflated price as everyone else, in most cases you payless than the other clubs who are also interested, that’s just how the market works.

        They are countless examples I can give you, Raphinha, Vlohovic etc

  4. Very great article vivek.
    It amuses me how these lots got used to trophless seasons in arsenal and it’s as if it’s part of them.
    Emery over Arteta every day of the week, with full backing of any player of his choice.
    We could have won the league by now under emery if he was backed with his choice of players.

    I don’t know what these lots see in edu and Arteta is closely behind.
    I don’t see us winning major trophies under this regime.

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