Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka was the standout performer as England beat the Czech Republic yesterday evening, and Gareth Southgate was quizzed on his performance.
The wonderkid picked up the UEFA Star of the Match award for his performance, and many will be calling for his inclusion in the knockout rounds also.
Arsenal fans are no strangers to the level of consistency that Saka shows, nor his ability to play any role asked of him, and Southgate praised his performance also, labelling him a ‘totally reliable player’.
Southgate told TalkSPORT: “We had a really good feeling about Bukayo since the first day he trained with us in this period. In every period he’s been with us he’s impressed us.
“He’s a totally reliable player, for a young player it’s an exceptional quality. His ability to receive under pressure was really important to get us through the thirds of the pitch.
“He did that for the run for the goal. Super cross from Jack and great to see Raheem scoring again.
“I thought Bukayo was the real standout performance.
“We played him in the position we did, partly because of his work off the ball is so good. His angles of approach are good. I know his club have worked a lot with him on that.
“It speaks volumes that his club have trusted him for the umber of games they have when it was difficult for them.
“Given we were defending more in a 4-4-2, you need your wingers to do a good job and him and Raheem did.
“His ability to go inside and outside, because he’s equally comfortable on either foot, I thought it was a really promising performance from him.”
It will be interesting if the manager sticks with the current system, which would surely give Saka a boost in his chances of playing in the knockout rounds, while Phil Foden could well profit from that switch with his ability to play in a similar role to Jack Grealish also.
Does Southgate simply have too many strong options within his squad to start Saka in the next round?