Southgate urged not to start Saka for England’s Euro 2020 semi-final

Rex Nseobong July 6, 2021

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Gareth Southgate has been urged to keep Bukayo Saka on the bench for England’s Euro 2020 semi-final match against Denmark.

Saka has emerged as one of England’s trusted stars in the competition after playing a starring role in their matches against The Czech Republic and Germany.

Southgate opted to use Jadon Sancho for the match against Ukraine in the quarter-finals and the former Borussia Dortmund attacker was in fine form.

Chris Sutton believes he did well in the match against the Ukrainians and deserves to start against Denmark as well.

Southgate can choose between Saka, Sancho and Phil Foden, but Sutton is confident that the right pick is the new Manchester United signing.

The former England striker liked how Sancho stretched the Ukrainian defence and says he should start against Denmark again.

He, however, admitted that Saka was the best fit for the position if Southgate wants someone who would do a better defensive job.

Sutton writes in his Daily Mail column: “Gareth Southgate’s use of Jadon Sancho against Ukraine was the first time England had started a right-footed player on their right-hand side at Euro 2020.

“Southgate wanted width and decided Sancho would deliver that, given he wouldn’t be cutting inside into bodies as much as a left-footer like Bukayo Saka or Phil Foden would.

“Sancho was successful in stretching the five-man Ukrainian back line in that way. His touch map shows how closely he was operating to that touchline. He practically had chalk on his boots.

“But Sancho was not only fixed to that right flank. He and Raheem Sterling had permission to swap sides on occasion.

“But now Southgate must decide who deserves to start on the right against Denmark.

“He could stand by Sancho. Or bring back Foden, who came into Euro 2020 with that Gazza-inspired blond hair but hasn’t appeared since the Scotland game. Or give a chance to Jack Grealish, who would never say no to doing a job on the right.

“Or start Saka, who is the best option when it comes to defensive duties. Southgate knows that, having used Saka as a wing-back previously.

“Down Denmark’s left-hand side is a very talented wing-back. Joakim Maehle produced one of the assists of the tournament when, with the outside of his right boot, he set up Kasper Dolberg to make it 2-0 against the Czech Republic.

“Only one player has made more dribbles at this tournament than Maehle and that’s Kylian Mbappe. He isn’t afraid to shoot and has got himself two goals.

“Saka could help Walker double up on Maehle if needed. The 19-year-old Arsenal sensation would have no issues with doing that.”

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