Why Bukayo Saka will make England's 2021 European     DATE: 2020-06-11 17:19

In his latest betting column,[新浪球通]小诸葛俄超推荐:格罗兹尼VS迪纳摩, Jones Knows puts forward the case to back Bukayo Saka at 3/1 to make England's 2021 European Championship squad.

When you think of clichés involved with the England national team, two immediately spring to mind.

Perennial underachievers is one. A problem down the left is the other.

Visions of that ill-timed Philip Neville tackle in Euro 2000 against Romania still leave many England followers waking up in cold sweats. He was the starting left-back for that tournament with, wait for it, Dennis Wise playing ahead of him for the final two group games. With such a lack of inspiration, was it such a surprise England did not make it out of the group?

That was probably the tip of iceberg in terms of scraping a barrel for left-sided options but there's also been experiments with Jason Wilcox, Trevor Sinclair, Kieron Dyer and Stewart Downing over the years.

Phil Neville was not the answer to England's left-side problems

Even Paul Scholes was shuffled out there by Sven Goran Eriksson,比利时杯数据简报:布鲁日终结2连平 攻守表现出色.

Who could forget this classic from Kevin Keegan when discussing his long-term plans for Steve Guppy in his England side: "He is a little bit like a left-sided David Beckham," Keegan said.

Guppy's England downfall can perhaps be blamed on Sky Sports' very own Jamie Redknapp, whose crashing left-footed goal in the in the win over Belgium in 1999 must have put Guppy's left-footed wizardry into perspective for Keegan. It turned out to be his only England appearance.

Southgate: Any step for Sancho will be challengingWhat if Gazza scored against Germany at Euro 96?

You do not have to delve too far back into England history either for left-sided shortages. Gareth Southgate's side may have whipped the nation up into a frenzy by reaching the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 but they managed it with Ashley Young, a right-footed winger who had lost his zest, an ever-present down the left during that tournament.

But that is all in the past. The future now looks bright for the lefties.

Ben Chilwell has developed into a fine player at Leicester City to the extent he is top of Chelsea and Manchester City's wish-list for a left-back this summer. Chilwell has established himself as the first-choice down that side for Southgate, starting the last three qualification matches.

However, there is a vacancy as a back-up. This area has taken my fancy for adding another bet to my long-term portfolio.

Jones Knows: Bet records for the seasonPlay Super 6 here

Danny Rose (6/4 to make the squad) is trying to rebuild his confidence and form at Newcastle, Luke Shaw's (7/4 to make the squad) inconsistency and injury issues continue to make him a frustrating candidate and Young has not been capped since the Croatia defeat. Both look woefully short in the betting. And even Southgate himself has admitted to a lack of depth in that area of the pitch.

He told The Football Show: "We have tremendous depth at right-back - a little bit less at left-back - so we have to constantly think about the best system to get our best players on the field and make sure we're competitive with and without the ball."

It leaves the door wide open for Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka. He is a serious talent and makes huge appeal at Sky Bet's price of 3/1 to make the England 23-man European Championship squad in 2021.

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Saka does not even turn 19 until the start of next season but he has already established himself as an important player for Mikel Arteta at Arsenal down the left. Before the suspension of the season, Saka had started nine of the last 10 matches in all competitions, answering the call for a left-back in tremendous fashion while Sead Kolasinac and Kieran Tierney were on the treatment table. They will do well to get their spots back now.

Saka's career progression is mirroring that of Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold,中国竞彩网韩职情报:尚州尚武参加多名实力球员,新闻_1, whose attacking quality has been utilised from full-back while also possessing the learning capacity to improve in his defensive work. Alexander-Arnold, like Saka, played mostly as a winger when progressing through the youth ranks but was switched to the deeper role when given first-team opportunities by Jurgen Klopp.

Sky to show 64 live PL games - 25 free-to-airPremier League fixtures - every game left to play

It's Saka's quality in the final third that has got pulses racing about his true potential.

One of the key jobs of the modern day full-back is to provide a creative outlet from their area of the pitch - it's Liverpool's biggest weapon. Crosses cannot fly into the stand and key passes cannot be wasted in such a system. Saka has already shown in his time in the Arsenal first team he has the culture and the guile with his delivery to produce game-changing moments in matches.

His cheeky nutmeg on Newcastle's Valentino Lazaro and precise cross for Nicholas Pepe in the 4-0 victory over the Toon on a Super Sunday showcased to the watching world what Saka was all about.

That is one of nine assists he has racked up across all competitions. That's more than Mesut Ozil, Wilfried Zaha and Paul Pogba have managed this season combined. His data puts him top of the shop when it comes to English left-back assist makers this season - as seen from the below two graphics.

Despite learning on the job,[新浪球通]诸葛侃球足球赛事推举:德乙+土超, he's impressed defensively too, showing no fear despite playing in some big occasions and hostile atmospheres like Olympiakos away in the Europa League and Premier League away days at Chelsea and Manchester United. Many youngsters have crumbled in those hot-beds but Saka looked more than at home.

Back Southampton for a top-10 finish at 13/2

His positional awareness still needs work but his tenacity has shone through in trying to adapt to his defensive duties. No Arsenal player to have made more than seven Premier League appearances this season averages more tackles per game than Saka (2.45).

Statistically speaking, Arsenal are also better defensive outfit with Saka at left back than without.

With him in the team Arsenal are defensively more watertight, conceding half the amount of goals - with their ratio at 0.8 goals conceded per game shaping up very favourably to the 1.6 goals conceded per game when Saka misses out.

The current 3/1 on offer from Sky Bet represents a 25 per cent chance of Saka being on the plane next summer. That significantly underestimates the likelihood of that scenario.

In my mind, if he's a regular playing at a 'big six' club like Arsenal, competing in pressurised occasions domestically and in Europe, then it's going to be almost impossible for Gareth Southgate not to include him as one of his left back options.


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