Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has championed Bukayo Saka ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday night.
The reigning Gunners‘ Player of the Season has enjoyed an excellent tournament, starting in three of The Three Lions games to help guide them to their first-ever European Championships final.
Saka has started in two of England’s three knockout games, with his only absence coming in the 4-0 quarter-finals route of Ukraine, a match that he missed due to a slight knock he picked up against Germany a few days prior.
The 19-year-old was replaced by Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho against Ukraine and Wenger has backed Saka to start over the wideman on Sunday, claiming that his skill set is more suited to Gareth Southgate’s defensive approach.
“Saka is more reliable defensively and I would say Southgate has built this team on being solid defensively – you see that with Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips,” he told beIN SPORTS via the Daily Star.
“Overall they are more defensive, especially Phillips. He’s working very hard but plays a lot sideways – and not many incisive balls – but he does an amazing job defensively.
“With Saka, he defends well and has played full-back with Arsenal and many other positions.
“Jadon Sancho is sometimes a bit more creative with the ball but he forgets a lot to come back.
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“Ideally you want players to do everything well!
“But sometimes you have to compromise and in Sancho’s case he’s more of an offensive player whereas Saka is more of an all-rounder with a good balance.”
Saka will take confidence in Wenger’s kind words as he hopes he can start from the off against Roberto Mancini’s side at Wembley.
If he is to start on the right flank he will likely match up against Chelsea wantaway left-back Emerson, who came in for the injured Leonardo Spinazzola during the Azzuri’s 1-1 draw against Spain in the semi-finals.