Arsenal Coach, Mikel Arteta Backs Bukayo Saka To Play For England

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says exciting youngster Bukayo Saka is good enough to play for the Three Lions of England.

The Emirates teenager has already represented the Three Lions at Under-19 level and could well be included in Gareth Southgate’s next senior squad in September.

However, Saka, 18, also qualifies for Nigeria – and the Super Eagled are stepping up their attempts to persuade him to represent them instead of England.

Arsenal boss Arteta reckons the versatile winger, who has enjoyed a great run of form under his watch, has the international game at his dazzling feet.

However, he is putting no pressure on Saka regarding his ambitions for the world stage – and will not be interfering in the England-versus-Nigeria battle.

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Arteta declared: “If I get asked the question by him then I can give my opinion but, as of now, he hasn’t come to me with that.

“So, for now I will leave it totally independent with the player and, as well, with the family – as they normally have a big say – with their background, their culture and where they are coming from.

“I don’t want to step in there.”

Saka, with 11 assists in 38 Arsenal appearances this season, admitted yesterday (Saturday) that he faces a dilemma over whether to opt for England or Nigeria.

The Ealing-born starlet said: “I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents. It’s a tough choice.”

Arteta, while declaring him easily good enough to grace Southgate’s much-fancied England line-up, fully trusts the youngster to make the correct call.

“Absolutely, he can play for England,” said the ex-Everton and Arsenal playmaker. “And he’s very clever. He’ll make the right decision.”

Deborah Adegoke

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