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Bukayo Saka made the most of his first Euro 2020 start with a dazzling performance in England’s attack against Czech Republic, matching a long-standing record in the process

Jun 23, 2021

Bukayo Saka matched an England record shared by Michael Owen and Raheem Sterling with his latest brilliant display for his country.
Saka, 19, was handed a start in attack by Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions’ clash with Czech Republic on Tuesday night.
The Arsenal star was one of England’s brightest players throughout the match, especially in the opening stages when he tore through the opposition defence on numerous occasions.
Saka played a key role in the build-up to England’s winning goal with one such burst from midfield, while his subsequent diversionary run made space for Raheem Sterling to nod in at the back post while unmarked.
Saka effortlessly drifted past Czech Republic defenders many times (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
It was a performance which emphasised Saka’s importance to the England squad and he certainly staked a claim for a prominent role in the Three Lions’ last-16 contest.
The statistics back up the Ealing native’s brilliant display and his remarkable total of five completed take-ons is the joint-most of any English teenager at a major tournament.
As noted by Opta Sports, only Sterling at the 2014 World Cup against Uruguay and Owen at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina have been so successful when taking the fight to the opposition.
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Saka’s performance saw him named man of the match and drew lavish praise from Roy Keane, who hailed the youngster’s attitude.
“We all follow the players what theyre doing every week for their clubs but Gareth has had three or four weeks with the players,” Keane told ITV Sports of Saka after the match.
“Hell look at players attitude to training, particularly players that have been left out, and this is certainly a talented kid.
Would you like to see Bukayo Saka start for England in the last 16 of Euro 2020? Have your say in the comments.
“What England missed the other night [in the 0-0 draw with Scotland] was extra energy and pace, people going past players and this kid will bring that.”
Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright was just as impressed by Saka and highlighted the burden of responsibility he is accustomed to with the Gunners.
“Were talking about a young player that, with the season Arsenal had, for a long period of not creating a lot,” said Wright.
“But this is a 19-year-old that stepped up, took it on his shoulders and hes able to go in there and he will play how he plays.
“He will take people on, hes great one-touch, two-touch, he will do everything, hell come inside, hell get the wing-back going outside, hell do everything to create. Hes perfect for this game, absolutely perfect.”
Saka scored his first England goal in the 1-0 victory over Austria at the start of the month in a friendly match, while he has earned six caps to date.