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'Massive achievement': Gary Neville and Ian Wright heap praise on record-breaker Bukayo Saka

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Arsenal star Bukayo Saka, still only 19, starts for England against Denmark in the semi-final of Euro 2020 at Wembley tonight.

The teenager has been Arsenal’s shining light for a while now and he has now stepped up on the international stage. He was absolutely outstanding against the Czech Republic a couple of weeks ago and he started the game against Germany brilliantly as well.

Saka missed the quarter-final against Ukraine due to injury, and although Jadon Sancho had a good game, the Arsenal teenager replaces him for the big clash tonight against the Danes in front of about 60,000 people.

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Gareth Southgate’s decision to hand Saka a start today is a record-breaking one. The 19-year-old is now the youngest-ever player to start for England in the semi-finals or later of a major tournament. That is an outstanding achievement, and Ian Wright and Gary Neville heaped praise on him pre-game.

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Ian Wright and Gary Neville praise Bukayo Saka

Wright said on ITV after the team was announced: “We’re talking about someone that joined Arsenal’s academy at age 7. He’s progressed through, he’s always been somebody that’s played at a higher level. He has played for England since he was 16, he’s played at every level.

“He’s not just arrived here, he’s somebody that was destined to do what he’s doing right now. That’s why everyone at Arsenal knows what he’s capable of, and we’re seeing it right now.”

Neville added: “It’s a massive achievement, but I think it’s typical of Gareth’s reign, where he’s ripped up the rule book.

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“You don’t have to be a starting player for a club, you don’t have to be at a fashionable club, you don’t have to be at a Champions League club, you don’t even have to be the most popular with the media or with the fans.

“If you’re in form in training, he’ll pick you in a game, and it’s paying off. The lads that are out on the pitch are the ones who have been in the best form, and Saka’s been electric in the games that he’s played. I was happy he was rested for the game on Saturday, but tonight he should be absolutely flying.”

It’s not easy for any player to play in a semi-final of a major competition, let alone a 19-year-old. However, Saka has shown for over a year now that he is fearless, and if he plays with the same kind of freedom tonight, he will be the star of the show again.

Arsenal and England fans are rooting for Saka tonight. Hopefully, he can come up with the goods.

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