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Gareth Southgate pinpoints why Bukayo Saka is now world class

Saka’s form has been sensational for Arsenal and he replicated that with a stunning goal as England beat Ukraine

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Sunday 26 March 2023 22:07 BST
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Bukayo Saka poses with his player of the match award
Bukayo Saka poses with his player of the match award (The FA via Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate believes Bukayo Saka has developed a new-found ruthlessness when finishing and said he is now producing the numbers of goals and assists to be a world-class winger.

Saka scored England’s second goal in their 2-0 win over Ukraine to take his tally to 17 for club and country this season and Southgate believes the 21-year-old has improved his mentality to go with the technique he always possessed.

The Arsenal player has been directly involved in 23 goals in his last 34 games for club and country, scoring 16 and assisting seven, and Southgate said: “It is a top-level finish. That is the ruthless part he has added to his game in the last 18 months or so. There were times you weren’t sure he was going to finish but now he has that confidence in front of goal.

“I just think when he’s in front of goal now he plays with real belief. That’s evident with his club and that’s evident in the games with us. You’re expecting him to score now when he goes through and I think that’s been a mentality shift as much as it’s anything technical.

“He’s always had the technique, so I think he knows to be a really top wide player you need the numbers of goals and assists and he has, without a doubt, delivered that all season.”

Southgate believes Saka has the right attitude to carry on delivering, adding: “His hunger, his humility, are what’s 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 how his family are.

“He’s got great support around him. He’s progressing brilliantly, He’s a joy to work with.”

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