HomeWorld Football

Southgate Lavishes Praise On ‘Versatile’ Saka

Southgate Lavishes  Praise On ‘Versatile’  Saka

England manager Gareth Southgate says Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka will add add more depth to the Three Lions left side following his first senior call-up.

Saka, 19, turned down Nigeria after he was named in England’s squad ahead of the upcoming matches against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

The youngster is capable of playing either as a left-back or in a more advanced role.

Southgate insists he has been impressed with Saka’s performances for Arsenal and says the winger will improve the options on England’s left wing.

Asked about Saka’s decision to turn down Nigeria in favour of England, Southgate replied: ‘I’ve not talked specifically to Bukayo about that.

Read Also: Saka Excited With First England Senior Team Call-Up

‘I think so many of our players are eligible for dual-nationality, sometimes for more than two countries.

We’ve been impressed with his progress through our system.

‘I thought at times for Arsenal last year, at times really exciting. Still very young, still learning, of course, but improving all the time. High potential, real good quality.

‘Everybody that’s worked with him tells me he’s a very level-headed, intelligent boy.

‘So it’s an area of the pitch we’re keen to look at a different profile of player. He can play a number of different roles very comfortably.’

Copyright © 2024 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.


  • Michel 4 years ago

    After one match he will be left out just like others.i wish genarr Rohr and Pinnick will concentrate more on players born in Nigeria,so far,our best players remain those born at home.

    • I don’t think it’s bad if we give players with dual nationality the chance. The way we do it is the most important here. If they are Nigerians they deserve the right to represent us. Nff and the coach also have the right to scout for good players. I believe nff and the coach are not doing badly now especially after the experience if Tammy. Having a mix of players bred from home and abroad has worked for us and only a mad mad man will abandon what’s working. We can only learn some lessons and polish things. Whenever we contact you we give you a deadline based on our program for you to start the switch. If you don’t get that started we forget you for life. I think that should be the polishing we do. Come to think of it, england is only in the business of wasting the destiny of these players. They are cup tieing them to stop Nigeria from being a force and not because they have any plans for these players. If only these players can see and apply sense. Can you think of the waste that Victor moses, iwobi, reuben agboola, leon balogun and others would have been if we did not give them the opportunity to play for us.

      Fashanu, dele Alli and others were wasted by england. I believe fifa understood this and that was why it put in place a new rule. Nff is not doing badly and Rohr. We need the best to be the best. The combination has been good for us, let us continue. We should never lose any sleep over any player. We never lost anything when we lost fashanu and dele Alli and others to england. Nigeria is Nigeria and we are not minnows. Forget Saka and Eze. Do you think Rohr will bench musa, kali or Moses for him just like that. Or do you think Saka is better than zeidu sanusi. What about ehizube. Common Saka playing for us is just ordinary addition. I just pity him sha.

      • D-cardinal 4 years ago

        Bro no vex.inasmuch e dey pain us.saka better pass all these players u called

      • GLORY 4 years ago

        Thumbs up @ Christian Ministries Nigeria. People can continue to mourn Saka n Eze’s England invitations, I m celebrating the over flowing super talents already at our disposal. Not a pinch of hard feelings against any player who decide not to play for nigeria. They all have a right of choice but should please be men enough not to use Nigeria as a bargain, herein I will criticize them.

  • Saka an option and hasn’t been spoken to but still want to represent the lions. What a strong institution the have built for themselves.

  • KangA 4 years ago

    Those born at home are not necessarily our best players. But they can be polished to become world actors. Take a look at Osimhen. Let’s polish our own raw diamonds and stop looking for finished products abroad. 

  • Abdul andah 4 years ago

    I really the guy in question here is Felix uduokhai.

    He is one type of defender that we don’t really have his type in the current set-up super eagles.
    He plays very well with his left foot and he is also very good with his Head.

    Saka matter no pain really as I had already imagined it this way before yesterday.

  • For me, coach Gareth Southgate is bang on the money by highlighting ‘versatility’ as the USP (unique selling point) of young vivacious winger Bukayo Saka as the youngster is set to embark on a national team career that will undoubtedly see him being booed anytime England face Nigeria.

    In 2018, Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Dele Alli could not escape the jeers and booes from Super Eagles fans who made their impressions of him known every time he touched the ball in their area.

    After apparently being encouraged by John Fashanu in 2015 to bolt his international football cart to the Nigerian stallion, Alli elected to kit for England. He has gone on to make an impressive 35 caps since then.

    Although Nigerian fans have refused to either overcome or forgive Alli’s snub (or treachery as some would want to make themselves believe), the 24 year old has enjoyed a decent England career having been to Euro 2016 and World Cup 2018.

    And it is to such a footstep that Saka will be hoping to not only emulate but also surpass. And he has all the attributes to do just that due to his dynamism, creativity, craft and most of all versatility.

    There was a time last season – around June time – when in Arsenal’s three Premier League games, Saka played on the left of a back four, the right of a front three and, and the against Brighton, on the left of a midfield three.

    That is amazing!

    To be flexible, pliable and moldable into different roles within a short space of time and still churn out pristine performances is the reason perhaps why Saka’s choice is Nigeria’s loss and England’s gain.

    But Nigeria did not lose for losing Saka (in my humble opinion); Nigeria lost for not paying adequate attention to youth football for indigenous players.

    I am in no doubt; Nigeria still produces players like Saka in abundance. Unfortunately, just like ripe fruits that fall off a tree and go rotten on the ground without being picked, our young indigenous players are being failed by a system that seemed designed only to help waste away their talents and potentials.

    The system in England and Arsenal produced Saka and it only seems fitting (and fair, I might add) that they benefit from the fruits of their investment and labour.

    As for Saka, if he continues to invest in himself, there is no reason why he cannot go on to be a seasoned England International like Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck and Emil Heskey.

    Even none of those players exhibited the sort of versatility that Saka exudes.

    And as for Nigeria supporters, rather than boo or berate Saka, I think they should vent their anger on football administrators in the country who have created the sort of environment that makes it inimical for prospects like Saka to be discovered and to thrive.

  • Gowek 4 years ago

    Dear S.E fans. Pls hold ur peace and stop crying over saka loss. To be very honest Nigeria has been known to produce the best wingers and wing backs over time. Till date SE wings are loaded and Saka is very much aware of this. Who will he have benched? Musa, chuchukueze, moses simon , zaidu , denis,aina et al . International football is not club football. Saka is average and below our current wingers. Let him go whr him go see ball play

  • Chairmanfemi 4 years ago

    My prayer now is NFF should organize a Friendly next year at Same Wembley(Home of the English National team) Vs England and plead with England to feature all this boys so we’ll disgrace them and show them we’re no minnows anymore in football. All this boys after the match will then see that Nigeria is way better than that overated England team

    • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

      That “overrated” England team Nigeria is “way better than”, played at the Semi-finals of the last world cup….Just a quick reminder

  • Nigeria invited him as guest(imagine) but Saka turn it down using his club issues as excuse.

    England called him, Saka feels “over the moon”.

    My question is; had it been england invited him during that period he was negotiating his contrct with arsenal; will he give the excuse he gave nigeria?

    Eze prefers turning up for england U21 without any excuse of settling down in his new environment b4 making any decision;
    the day nigeria invited Eze that is when their club issues pops up.

    Tomorrow now they would still come and twist words and NFF would still accept them like the case of AKPOGUMA.





  • GLORY 4 years ago

    @ UBFE, You ve got a point there, we should establish a rule to govern these set of players. I will suggest we work in tandem with the foreign FAs of these countries, just to show our appreciation for their huge investment on these kids. This we can do by allowing them make first move for the players, wherein we make the players understand that age 26 is maximum for chasing them. After 26years, we look somewhere else.

  • GLORY 4 years ago

    And we can only let these players know we are happy to have but must NEVER beg them. That is disgraceful. You beg a player, then be ready to have a player that will never give his best. Never willing to sacrifice anything for you because of course he sees himself as doing you a favour.

  • GLORY 4 years ago

    @ Drey, that England team was fire then. Watched them live,run our defence into total confusion in the first half, to the point Mikel and Onazi almost started quarrelling inside pitch. Was watching Mikel especially, gasping for breath. But Rohr came up with some magic in the second half and we were able to turn the tide around. But @ Drey, I can put money on this present SE Rohr is producing to rip England apart if ever we meet. The quality Rohr is bringing into this SE is quite frightening, no surprise Mane had to echo same. Imagine, Ehizugbe, Tyronne, Akpoguma, Udokuai, Balogun, Iofa, Ekong, Ajayi, Omeruo, Turunariga,Uchegbulam, Aina, Sanusi etc . I strongly feel, this is going to be the best SE ever.

    • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

      Oga…we are still not “way better” than them.
      I appreciate the sense of patriotism but there’s no need allowing emotions becloud sane judgement.
      Our goalkeeprs are not as good as Pickford or Hendersen.
      Our defenders are not better than Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Kieran Trippier or Kyle Walker.
      Our Midfielders will have to play out their skins to be able to match Jordan Henderson, Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Harry Winks
      Only our attackers can offer something close to what the likes of Tammy Abraham, Calvert-Lewin, Harry Kane, Rashford, Sancho and Raheem Sterling can offer.

      Na ordinary Saka and Eze wey nor fit make the starting XI of this england team we dey go prostrate for since to come add gator to our own SE.

      A whole is usually the sum of its parts……So pls how are we “way better”….???

      • GLORY 4 years ago

        Hahaha.. hahaha@ Drey, you no go kill me with laugh. Lolz. You know what? these English players are over hyped. Facts on paper will make it difficult to argue out this point, only a match up on the pitch will practically prove me right. So for now I accept your view. Good one Drey. Still laughing.

        • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

          Oga mi…this one is not a matter of facts on paper…its a matter of what we see on the football pitch week-in-week-out. Currently almost all our keepers are 2nd choices….even at that they are not as good as Henderson or Pickford. Almost all our central defenders are playing in 2nd division or equivalent…we still saw the likes of Dier, Gomez etc in the league cup. Not to talk of the midfielders and forwards I listed above. We seen these guys and what they do every weekend and lets be truthful to ourselves…most of our own players aren’t close to them. The players they are looking for to use and dump are the ones we are looking up to to enhance our team…that alone says a whole lot.

  • One thing that I have been advocating for quite sometime is for the NFF to have a transparent protocol understood by the media and Super Eagles fans for approaching dual nationality players to pick Nigeria ahead of their country of birth (or domicile).

    This protocol should be simple and all stakeholders should be kept informed at each stage of the process.

    This is what I suggest:

    1) NFF identifies a dual nationality player.
    2) Determine whether it is worthwhile approaching the player to choose Nigeria.
    3) If it is decided that the player be approached, this decision and the identity of the player should be made available to the Press at that point.
    4) The NFF should fix a date to approach the player (similar to a job interview).
    5) In the meeting, the NFF should give the player the reasons to represent Nigeria and give them time and the opportunity to think about it.
    6) A mutual date should be agreed on when the player should get back to the NFF with their decision. The public should be kept abreast of these developments via NFF Press releases.
    7) If the player picks Nigeria, the the switch formalities with FIFA can commence if applicable. If they choose to turn down the offer to play for Nigeria, the NFF thanks them for their time, wish them best of luck, communicate the outcome of this effort with the media and formally close the case.

    Everyone goes their separate ways.

    This way, I think we can avoid the sort of embarrassment that the endless nationality-switch speculations of Eze and Saka generated.

  • GLORY 4 years ago

    @ Drey, here, we are talking about club football. National team I believe is different. Familiarity at club level contributes to good performance, but at national team level, they are playing against very unfamiliar opponents. This is where that pure latent talent overrides friendship influenced performances. Reason, Bulgaria with all the top stars like Hristo Stoicgkov,letckov, yankov,kiriakov etc burning many leagues in Europe crumbled before a Nigeria unknown in 1994, same thing with Senegal v France, Cameron v Argentina etc. NATIONAL TEAM IS DEVOID OF FAMILIARITY FAVOURED PERFORMANCES that tends to over hype.So going by this, I beg to disagree with you.

    • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

      I really dont get this your familiarity argument….maybe you can explain yourself better. So familiarity does not affect our own national team abi…? So how will familiarity affect England, but will not affect us. So is it familiarity that is making those English players churn out high level fantastic displays week in week out…in the same league where our own players are struggling? Is it familiarity that has made TAA the best right back in the world, Jordan Hendersen one of the best CM’s available and Harry Kane the deadliest no 9 currently available in the game of soccer….??

      If for anything, familiarity even helps to build team chemistry and make teams stronger and very difficult to defeat. The Senegalese team that beat France were mostly playing in France…the Cameroon team that beat Argentina were mostly playing in Cameroon.

      Really….I don’t understand this your familiarity thing….pls explain better.

      • GLORY 4 years ago

        They are familiar with the every week, every month, every year opponents they play in the premiership which even goes back to their childhood days but not very familiar with opposing players at national team level, hence they struggle.So I personally, cant rate them on their club performances, because we are talking of national team here. It’s just like a case, where players score lots of goals in training but against opponents in real match situation, they struggle. These English players have been playing together right from childhood, so irrespective of them playing for different clubsides in the English league, it all come across to them like training match. But when they go out of England to play unfamiliar opponents, their yansh they open yakata and you start seeing how ordinary many of them are except for few exceptions.

        • GLORY DEDE BEEDIE 4 years ago

          Anyway lots of respect for you, this is just my opinion/ careful study drawn from many national team games played between so called super power national teams and the so called underdogs. We have seen on numerous occasions how those called super star by virtue of club football looked so ordinary. There is something about a true super star as far as I am concerned and that is SELF BELIEF. That thing that shows in a players attitude, whereby he doesn’t give a hoot about whoever he is playing against; Amunike had that, Aribo is showing that, Alex Iwobi has it and infact most of our present players have it; THE NO RESPECT FOR SO CALLED BIG NAME THING. This is what characterizes national team football. Two players in that English team that ran our defence riot,DELE ALLI n Sterling have that thing in them too and just could be why England struggles when Dele Alli is not playing. Because at national team level English players show lack of self belief, one of the content of pure latent talent.

          • GLORY 4 years ago

            Sorry @ Drey, might be some few errors cos I am multitasking while trying to respond. Do bear with me.

          • Olawale 4 years ago

            I agree with you Gloria. You can’t compare players that plays and train together everyday to playing once or twice in 4-5month. Argentina has the best players individual but still find it hard to gel when playing for their country.. no disrespect to the English team but they are not better than us.. their league makes them feel they are better cause it is the most watch league in the world.. so I believe it’s 50/50 chance

          • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

            Honestly Glory, you have only succeeded in confusing me the more.
            I still don’t understand how all these makes the SE “WAY BETTER” than England at the moment.
            Is it familiarity that also made Messi as great as he is today…? Is it familiarity that has made CRY, Neymar, Mbappe, Lewandowski, Muller, Benzema, Sallah, Aubameyang, Etoo, Drogba, Mahrez, Sadio Mane all great players…? Is it not in the same European leagues our own players are playing are they are mostly annonymous waka pass…? Is it not the same familiar EPL where Harry Kane and Sterling are familiar with and banging goals with reckless abandon that our own Isaac Success and Iheanacho have been swallowed up into oblivion…? Is it not the same Bundesliga Halaand and Sancho are familiar with and Churning out fantastic displays season after season yet our on Ujah and Awoniyi are struggling to even hit shots on target…?
            Can a player give what they dont have….is it not your club form and abilities you take into your national team to perform…? Can players suddenly develop techniques they dont have once they are inside national team camps and start showing it on match days with ease…????

            My brother, as I said earlier, I appreciate your sense of patriotism, but even the teary eye still sees. Emotions should not becloud judgement…an elephant is beyond the type of animal you can claim you saw in a flash.

            Familiarity or no familiarity, we are not close to England….not to even talk of being “WAY BETTER”. There is a reason why they are ranked no 4 in the world and we are ranked no 29

  • GLORY 4 years ago

    And continuing to keep a player on d bench, you are systematically killing his self belief ( pure talent), just what some of players are suffering. Remember England must do everything to make sure theirs play( limited space for foreign players).

  • GLORY 4 years ago

    Sorry @Drey, if it sounded confusing. Simply put, with exception of very few players, the very very familiar terrain gives these English players edge over others. It projects them as super star when actually they are just ordinary. I never mentioned Messi, Ronaldo and the likes who are not English. I am particular about English. Most of them are over hyped by the English media and that tends to boost their confidence on the pitch. And remember they showing they are good playing in the English way. Imagine if these so called English stars are the ones going foreign leagues like our players to play other countries style, I bet they will suffer same faith as our players suffer presently. So I can’t accept that their players are better than ours. But will bet our team will whip their ass if we happen to meet them within this moment of our newly found momentum because of self belief ( that innate ability). WHEN I SAID BETTER, I MEARNT IN TERMS OF SELF BELIEF. The average English fans will tell anyone that cares to listen that England will never win anything because they always lack self belief anyway,so it’s nothing strange.

    • GLORY 4 years ago

      Just imagine if it had been the other way round. Harry cane coming to our league, where Iheanacho is already familiar with almost every player/ manager, our style of play etc. Can you confidently say it will still be same Harry Cane you are seeing today?. Why are English players struggling in other leagues, Italy, Germany, let’s not even talk of Sweden, Demark, Brazil etc.

      • Dr. Drey 4 years ago

        Pls tell us how many english players are struggling in other leagues..? Owen Hagreaves succeeded at Bayern for many years, was it also due to familiarity…? Linekar was at Barca, Beckham was at Madrid, today Trippier is at Athletico, Sancho is at Dortmund, Lookman was doing his thing at Lepizig before the change of coach, is it the media hype that is making them too to churn out fantastic displays every week…? By the way is it not people who are performing well that the media hypes…? If you are a crap player will the media hype you in the first case..? Ordinary Portsmouth hammered our league champions Kano pillars 5-0 abi na 7-0 some years ago in Abuja, so is it Harry Kane who is killing everybody in England and Europe that will not perform in our league…? LMAO.

        My brother, put your sentiments aside so that you can see clearly. No matter the amount of self belief Lesotho have, they cant beat Brazil or Germany. Self belief does not play football. It can only be an added advantage if your overall ability is a bit close to that of your opponent and if all things being equal, your opponent makes the mistake of underrating you. If na by self belief alone, africa suppose don win world cup. Even our golden generation did not whip England’s ass. We will try all our best but the odds still favor a win (albeit a narrow win) for England if we meet them this afternoon. We are not in anyway “Way Better” than England at the moment.

Update cookies preferences