England boss Gareth Southgate has praised Bukayo Saka following his brilliant outing against Ukraine on Sunday.
Saka delivered a man of the match performance, setting up Harry Kane with a superb cross in the 27th minute to score the opening goal for England before scoring a cracking goal from 25 yards three minutes later in the 2-0 win over Ukraine at Wembley.
Southgate calls the Arsenal star a “top wide player” in the world who has undergone a “mentality shift” and has the right mindset to continue his astonishing improvement.
Saka is having a brilliant season at Arsenal and has become one of England’s best players. He played 85 minutes in Thursday’s win over Italy in Naples and played 90 minutes against Ukraine on Sunday.
The 21-year-old has scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists for Premier League leaders Arsenal this season.
Southgate speaks glowingly about Saka after the win on Sunday.
“I just think when he’s in front of goal now, he plays with real belief.”.
“That’s evident with his club and in his games with us. You’re expecting him to score now when he goes through and that’s been a mentality shift as much as it’s anything technical, because he has always had the technique.
“I think he knows that to be a really top wide player you need the numbers for goals and assists and without a doubt he has delivered that all season.”
Only Dixie Dean (16), Jimmy Greaves (16), Wayne Rooney (12), and Michael Owen (10) have scored more goals for the Three Lions than Saka, who now has eight for England.
After two wins from two in Euro 2024 qualification, England’s manager was delighted to see the kid continue in the same vein. Southgate had previously commented on his “ruthlessness” in front of goal.
“His hunger, his humility is what has got him on a good path. He has all the attributes to continue to improve and learn because that’s how he’s wired.
“I don’t see that changing with how he is and his family are. He’s got great support around him and all of those things are important for a young player.”
Southgate added that Saka is progressing brilliantly to become one of the best in the world.
“I’m not going to get drawn into where he fits in world football because that puts me in danger of doing all the things we shouldn’t be doing with him.
“But he is progressing brilliantly, he is a joy to work with and we should leave it at that.”
England are top of Group C in the Euro 2024 qualifiers which will be hosted in Germany from June 14 to July 14 2024.
England’s next game is a Euro 2024 Qualifier in Malta on Friday June 16, kick-off 7.45pm before hosting North Macedonia at Old Trafford on Monday June 19, kick-off 7.45pm.