Bukayo Saka ready to take World Cup 2022 penalty for England despite Euros woe

Bukayo Saka is ready to step up and take a penalty for England at the World Cup as he bids to move on from the heartbreak of the Euro 2020 final.

Saka missed the decisive spot-kick in last year’s final against Italy and was subjected to racist abuse online in the wake of it.

The winger has bounced back from that, so much so that he has become Arsenal’s penalty taker and played a key role this season in them climbing to the top of the Premier League.

Saka believes he has grown since the final of Euro 2020, both on and off the pitch, and he is ready to take a penalty at the World Cup as England prepare to face France in the quarter-finals.

Bukayo Saka failed with the decisive spot kick last summer. (The FA via Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka failed with the decisive spot kick last summer. (The FA via Getty Images)

“Obviously I have matured and progressed a lot as a player and a person since that moment,” said Saka.

“I wouldn’t have stepped up the times I have stepped up for Arsenal if I wasn’t confident. So obviously if the moment comes and I am selected to take it, I will be more than happy to.

“To be honest, I feel like personally I have tried to move on from that moment. Obviously I know I can never really forget about it. It’s going to be in history.

“But at the same time, coming out here and scoring those three goals of course lifted me a lot. Like I keep saying, the love from the fans that I keep receiving lifts me a lot as well.

“It gives me a lot of confidence and I just love to see this from the fans. The whole team has got around me.

I read my Bible every night, it is really important to have the presence of God in me all the time.

“I think that is another example of how close our team is and how together we are, which is helping us to get good results as well.”

Saka has been in fine form for Arsenal this season, scoring five goals and laying on six assists to help them sit first in the Premier League.

The 21-year-old has continued that form at the World Cup and his goal in England’s 3-0 win over Senegal in the last-16 on Sunday night was his third of the tournament.

“It’s been an amazing season so far with Arsenal,” said Saka. “Like you said, we are top of the league right now and not just me, everyone in that team is playing with so much confidence. So obviously coming here, we can bring that here and it’s really helped me of course.

“There is no doubt about the quality we have in our [England] team. We are blessed with an amazing front line. There is so much quality in the attacking players.

“When you get selected in that line-up, it shows how much confidence and the trust the manager has in you and it gives you that extra confidence to go out and shine. Last night, we were able to do that.”

Saka is a devout Christian and revealed he is reading his Bible every night while out in Qatar as part of his preparation for games.

“I have been continuing to do that out here, read my Bible every night,” Saka added.

“For me it is really important to have the presence of God in me all the time and it gives me more confidence that God’s plan is perfect, so I can go on the pitch and know that God has my back.

“The main thing for me is just keeping my faith, just having faith in God so I don’t need to be nervous or worry about any outcomes, because obviously it’s my first World Cup.

“I can start worrying about different things, different outcomes, but instead I just choose to put my faith in God.”