Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka has credited England captain Harry Kane for helping him settle into the national team set-up. The winger also said he wants to prove he can remain a part of manager Gareth Southgate‘s squad.
Saka was called up to the senior squad for the first time last month and was handed his debut against Wales. The 19-year-old has received the call again from Southgate, ahead of a friendly against Republic of Ireland and two UEFA Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Iceland.
Saka has emerged as a shining light under Mikel Arteta, in what has been an indifferent campaign for Arsenal. The Gunners, currently in 11th, have struggled for form in the Premier League and recently suffered a dismal 3-0 home defeat to high-flyers Aston Villa.
Since breaking into the first-team squad in 2018, Saka has developed into an attacking threat from the wide areas, which has led to consecutive England call-ups this season.
On his arrival into the England camp, the Arsenal man has revealed that Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane helped him to settle into the squad.
“All the boys have been so good with me from the first minute I came in,” Saka said.
“Harry Kane put his arm around me, he spoke to me and asked me how I was. For him to do that, it helped me settle in much quicker and made me feel comfortable to be myself around everyone.
“That helps me not just off the pitch but also on the pitch too, because I feel like I can be myself, express myself and play with the confidence that I play with back at my club.”
The admission of Saka into the England set-up comes as no surprise given the wide man’s rise to senior football. It also highlights Gareth Southgate’s fearlessness when it comes to trusting young players to represent the nation on the biggest stage.
Saka will be looking to maintain his place under Southgate over the international break, while having an eye on making the squad for next season’s delayed UEFA European Championships.
“It’s been amazing to have the faith of the manager and for him to recall me to this camp,” Saka added. “When I got the text, I was so happy again and I just want to do my best here.
“In the games and opportunities he gives me, I want to give my all on the pitch and I hope I can repay the faith he has shown in me.
“Games against Belgium are the type of games you want to play in as a player – the big games, the games that mean the most.
“It’s not just that game, though. Every time I get an opportunity to show how good I am, hopefully I can do my best and hopefully get picked for the Euros.”