To find players with Nigerian heritage, one of the best places that someone could look is within the England squad. The England football squad has a notable player with Nigerian roots who could be ideal for Gareth Southgate to succeed – Bukayo Saka.
All eyes will of course be on one of Gareth Southgate’s best young prospects at the Euros as he could form a key part of the England squad with the largest wealth of quality young players for the best part of fifteen years. Saka represents one of the best attacking players within that squad, alongside both Jadon Sancho and Phil Foden, both of whom have become nailed on starters for the manager is his infamous waistcoat. As a winger who can also cover at full back on either side and do a job in central attacking midfield also, Bukayo Saka could also be seen as a handy utility player.
All of this should help England out in the tournament, a view also held by the bookies in their Euro 2020 betting which has placed England as the odds-on favorites to win at 4/1. This narrowly beats off the 2018 World Cup Winners France at 5/1, who have their own starlets in Eduardo Camavinga and the potent attacking threat of Kylian Mbappe.
Saka’s nature as a handy utility player is one that no other player within Southgate’s squad can really match. In his two full seasons as a graduate of the Hale End academy, he has played on both wings in attacking and defending positions. Combined with this, he’s played in central midfield for a handful of games, making nearly one hundred appearances in the process in a number of positions.
When paired with the right players, such as the aforementioned Sancho and Foden as well as Harry Kane and Jack Grealish, England certainly have a recipe for success. He has worked well for Arsenal with the brilliant Emile Smith-Rowe and there’s no reason why this couldn’t be replicated for the Three Lions.
Saka won’t just be of major benefit to the England side, and will also be vital to any domestic successes for Arsenal in the coming 2021/22 season. Over the course of the last season, he provided Arsenal with a rather bright spark during what was a dismal Premier League campaign, helping out with nine goal contributions in 32 domestic appearances. That may not sound a lot, but on-pitch performance can be separated from the stat sheets.
Both home and away over last season’s run, he established himself as Arsenal’s top academy prospect as a winger characterized by good pace, quick dribbling, and a decent eye for goal. Bukayo’s play style, much like Nicolas Pepe’s, is more to do with buildup than the end product, but two consistent seasons of near-double figures for contributions does look to have put the youngster in good stead for the coming years.
It’s definitely fair to say that for England to be even vaguely successful at this year’s Euros that the performances of Bukayo Saka could prove vital. As not only a great overall prospect but also one of the most versatile players in the squad, he adds a certain something to Southgate’s squad. This season’s tournament should also provide him with some ideal experience from which to build on for next season.
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