Former Premier League greats Roy Keane and Ian Wright have both heaped praise on Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka ahead of England’s Euro 2020 final against Italy.
The youngster enjoyed an extremely productive 2020/21 campaign for the Gunners, notching seven goals and ten assists across all competitions, numbers that read even more impressive considering he played in a whopping five different positions for Mikel Arteta’s side.
His consistent displays even earned him the club’s Player of the Season award, as well as a place in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad, an inclusion that shocked a considerable portion of England supporters – who wanted former West Ham United loanee Jesse Lingard included instead.
However, Saka has proven the doubters wrong, picking up UEFA’s star of the match for his eye-catching display against the Czech Republic in the group stage before receiving further starts for iconic wins against Germany in the round of 16 and Denmark in the semi-finals.
The 19-year-old will be hoping he will start the Three Lions clash against Roberto Mancini’s Italy in Sunday’s final and former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane has admitted the youngster deserves a place in the starting XI.
“He (Southgate) has got good options,” Roy Keane told ITV’s final preview show.
“It would be nice to see Saka. People worry about young players but we’ve seen him get interviewed and he’s taken it all in his stride and his pace and his movement have been outstanding.
“Pace is vital if Kane’s going to be dropping deep, getting down the sides of Italy is going to be a huge part of the game.”
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Keane’s comments were echoed by former Gunner Ian Wright, who cited Saka’s direct style as an attribute that will be extremely useful for the highly-anticipated Wembley showpiece.
Wright added: “Saka will get the ball and go at their midfield and defence, get behind them and make something.
“That’s what we’re seeing from him and that’s probably why Gareth has so much faith in him. I think maybe it’s something where he goes for an hour and you can bring on a Sancho or Rashford or Grealish.”
England are expected to have 25 of their 26 players fully fit for the final, with the only doubt being Manchester City playmaker Phil Foden, who has a slight knock.