Who is Bukayo Saka? England and Arsenal winger in profile

Who is Bukayo Saka? England and Arsenal winger in profile
The 20-year-old is a rising star for both England and Arsenal

ブカヨサカ is one of the hottest prospects in English football, having burst onto the scene in emphatic fashion in the past few years.

The 20-year-old has been one of the brightest sparks in アーセナル side which has been struggling for the past couple of seasons, under the management of first Unai Emery and now ミケルアルテタ, while also securing himself a regular spot in ガレスサウスゲート’s England squad.

His versatility combined with his technical ability on the ball, excellent crossing and lightning-quick pace have endeared him to both England and Arsenal fans alike.

Saka predominantly plays as a winger but has also been used as a full-back and attacking midfielder.

Here’s all the lowdown on one of the nation’s most promising young talents.

Youth football

Saka was born in the London borough of Ealing to Nigerian parents. His first name descends from the Yoruba language and means “adds to happiness.” He attended and attended Edward Betham Church of England Primary School and Greenford High School and was a strong student academically, earning an array of A and A* grades in his GSCE exams.

In an interview with Sky Sports, Saka described his parents’ influence on his life and career path: “My dad always pushed me, he took me to training on days where sometimes it would take two hours to get there, so I’ll always be so grateful for my parents for the work they’ve done for me.”

Greenford Celtic was the youth club where Saka first began playing football, before moving to Watford and then Arsenal at the age of seven. 十年後, Saka was rewarded with his first professional contract.

Breaking into the Arsenal team

ちょうどの年齢で 17, Saka made his first start for Arsenal, in the Uefa Europa League against Vorskla Poltava, in Ukraine. Further appearances followed in the 2018/19 季節, as he made his Premier League debut at home to Fulham, on New Year’s Day, followed by facing Blackpool in an FA Cup victory.

9月中 2019 Saka scored his first goal for the club, a stunning long-range strike in the Europa League away at Eintracht Frankfurt, while also making two assists in a 3-0 勝利. The goal brought acclaim from media and fans beyond Arsenal for the first time, and led to more regular appearances. At the end of the season Saka won his first trophy, インクルード 19/20 FAカップ.

Becoming a highly-rated Premier League player

Halfway through the 19/20 季節, Saka became the Gunners’ regular first-choice left-back, after injuries to Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac left the position vacant. Saka seized the opportunity and secured himself a new contract when Arteta took over as manager in the summer of that year.

In Arteta’s first competitive match in charge, Saka provided the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal in the Community Shield fixture against Liverpool, which the Gunners went on to win on penalties.

The following season saw Saka’s influence grow again, as he scored five Premier League goals in 32 appearances on his way to being named Arsenal’s player of the season.

Choice between England and Nigeria

Saka had the choice of playing international football for either England or Nigeria thanks to his parents’ nationality, but opted for the Three Lions. Speaking about his decision in 2020, Saka told Sky Sports: “I feel like I’m really, really proud of my Nigerian heritage. I always still watch Nigeria’s games where I can and I wish them all the best and support them all the way. But I’ve seen the process of how England are transforming and I think in the future they’re going to do great stuff. I feel like it was right for me to choose England.”

He represented England at every youth level from under-16 to under-21, before earning his first call-up to the senior side in October 2020.

Three Lions heartbreak and hope for the future

A first England start came in a 3-0 victory over Wales at Wembley, before Southgate made Saka part of his 26-man squad for the Uefa Euro 2020 tournament held in a variety of cities across the continent.

Saka scored his first international goal in a friendly in the run-up to the tournament, against Austria at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium, before starting England’s final group game against the Czech Republic. Starting on the right-hand side of a 4-2-3-1 shape in a 1-0 勝利, Saka was named man of the match after the final whistle.

Another start in the victory over Germany followed, plus substitute appearances against Denmark in the semi-final and Italy in the final.

The match against the Italians went to penalties, and with England a goal behind and needing to score to take the shootout to sudden-death, Saka struck a penalty which was saved by Gianluigi Donnarumma.

In the aftermath, 言う, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who both also missed penalties, そうだった racially abused online by a significant number of social media users. A 43-year-old person from Runcorn was given a suspended prison sentence in September 2021 after pleading guilty to abusing the England players.

Saka has remained a crucial part of the England squad since the tournament, and was given a rapturous reception on his 20th birthday when he came on as a substitute in a Fifa World Cup qualifier against Andorra, 前 scoring his second England goal with a header from Jesse Lingard’s cross.