The Athletic’s David Ornstein has shared a fascinating story on how he found out about Arsenal and England star Bukayo Saka.
The teenager is a hero to every Gooner at the moment. After a stunning season at club level, he is shining for England on the European stage, and if he can keep this up, he will come home with the winner’s medal around his neck this weekend.
Everyone at Arsenal knew Saka would be a star. Ever since Freddie Ljungberg took him under his wing, the Englishman was viewed by many as the future of our club, but not many people knew much about him when he was around 16 years of age.
Ornstein, who knows what’s happening at Arsenal more than most people, had no clue about Saka in 2018. That quickly changed after Reiss Nelson made it clear to him that the teenager ‘is the one’.
Ornstein: What Reiss Nelson told me about Bukayo Saka in 2018
He said on The England Show: “I went to interview Reiss Nelson and Jadon Sancho in Dortmund in 2018. Just before we started rolling in the interview, Nelson and I were talking about Arsenal players.
“And I said: ‘I’ve heard so much about you coming through because you were friends with Jadon Sancho, and you were peers. You’re the one, right? But there’s also others, there’s Willocks I’ve heard of, Nketiahs…
“And he just stopped me while I was speaking and said: ‘There’s only one you should watch out for, and it’s Saka’, and I had never heard of him.
“So this was 2018, Saka was probably about 16 years old, and [Nelson] said: ‘That is the one. That boy can do things that you won’t have seen on a football pitch’.”
The Insider’s View:
Saka is a star and he is destined to become one of the greatest players England has ever produced. The teenager can play in about six different positions and he’s absolutely outstanding in all of them.
He is technically brilliant, he’s not fazed by anything and this is just the beginning. He’s still only 19 and he’s nowhere near his peak. He will only get better in the coming years, and Arsenal and England really are lucky to have him.
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Saka missed the Three Lions’ quarter-final win over Ukraine but he is ready for the semi-finals against Denmark. He is fit and raring to go and Arsenal fans will be hoping that Gareth Southgate gives him the nod from the start at Wembley tonight.