Arsenal star Bukayo Saka started for England against Italy in the Nations League yesterday, and the youngster’s role has been questioned by the English media.
The Three Lions’ miserable Nations League campaign came to an end last night. Gareth Southgate’s side didn’t win any of their six games and only scored one goal in the process. The England boss has now come under serious criticism for many of his decisions, including one about Saka.
Bukayo Saka’s performance for England vs Italy rated by national media
Saka has been brilliant for Arsenal on the right wing since the start of last season. He’s up there with some of the best in the country in that role, but Southgate, for whatever reason, decided to use him at left wing-back last night.
The Arsenal youngster, sadly, struggled in that position, and his ratings have taken a hit as a result.
The Guardian rated him 4/10 and wrote: “An interesting selection on the left, but his defensive inexperience was exposed. Italy targeted the youngster, who had a shaky game.”
The Telegraph gave him a 5/10 rating and wrote: “Starting at left wing-back, Saka struggled to make much of an impact. Ben Chilwell might have been wondering why he did not even make the matchday squad.”
Sky Sports also rated Saka 5/10. They wrote: “Played out of position at left wing-back and had little impact on the game. Arguably not his fault, given he largely plays at right wing for Arsenal and struggled to adapt.”
The Daily Mail were a bit more generous and give him a 5.5 rating. “Did a job for England in the left-wing back role but his talents are wasted in the unfamiliar role,” they wrote.
Playing Saka at left wing-back makes no sense whatsoever.
The 21-year-old, who was named the England Men’s Player of the Year this week, is one of the best right-wingers in the Premier League. He can score goals, create chances and has the ability to cause real problems to the opponents in the final third.
Asking a player like that to play in a role where he’ll constantly have to look behind him is just a bit silly in our opinion, and it is no surprise that Saka didn’t have the best of games last night.
England take on Germany next and Southgate simply cannot use Saka as a wing-back again.