Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville believes Manchester City ace Phil Foden may have learnt a thing or two from Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka following England’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic last night.
Handed his first appearance of this summer’s rearranged European Championship, Saka played a key role in helping England get the result they needed to top Group D and progress to the last-16 unbeaten.
Although it was Jack Grealish that supplied Raheem Sterling for the only goal of the game, Saka was the driving force behind the former Liverpool man’s second goal of the tournament, with his pace and trickery on the right-flank causing the Czechs all kinds of problems.
Following Friday evening’s goalless draw with Scotland, England chief Gareth Southgate knew that he had to tinker with his starting line-up to inject some creativity into his team, with many expecting Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho to come into the side.
However, Southgate opted to hand Saka an opportunity to prove his worth, replacing Foden, who had started the opening two games, on the right-wing, and it was a decision that proved its weight in gold as he scooped the Player of the Match gong.
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And for ITV Sport pundit Neville, Foden will have taken note of what Saka did by constantly driving at defenders and putting them on the back foot.
“Im hoping Phil Foden, watching that, whos been out because of the yellow card, I hope hes watching Saka, whos taking the ball on the back foot all of the time, hes driving at people,” Neville told ITV Sport.
“Thats what we expected from Foden in the first two games, we didnt quite get it, we know how exceptional he is.
“I think he could have inspired his team-mates tonight, Saka.”
Southgate was also impressed with the 19-year-old’s performance, hailing him in his post-match press conference.
The England manager said: “We have been super impressed with Bukayo Saka throughout the month. He was excellent up at Middlesbrough and we have liked him with and without the ball.
“His receiving tonight under pressure was fantastic.”

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