England have correct mix of youth and experience to succeed – Bukayo Saka

·3-min read

Bukayo Saka believes England have the right mix of youth and experience to succeed and is delighted to see his Arsenal team-mate Emile Smith Rowe added to the mix for the first time.

The Three Lions are on the cusp of securing qualification for the 2022 World Cup, having come so close to breaking their 55-year trophy drought this summer.

Saka is one of 12 players in Gareth Southgate’s initial squad – for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino – under the age of 25.

The likes of Harry Maguire, Harry Kane and Kieran Trippier have been highlighted by Saka as leaders in the England dressing room.
The likes of Harry Maguire (left), Harry Kane (pictured) and Kieran Trippier have been highlighted by Saka as leaders in the England dressing room (Nick Potts/PA)

“I think the team has got really good balance,” he told the PA news agency.

“It has got the right amount of senior players and the right amount of young players, I think we have got really good team chemistry and you can see that on and off the pitch as well.

“That really helps us and gives us a chance of winning a lot of games and going far in tournaments.”

Asked which of the more experienced members of the squad take the lead and do the talking on the pitch and in the dressing room, Saka was not short of answers.

“There are plenty,” he said.

“Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Jordan Pickford, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson…I can go on for so long!

“I think it is not just about being in your late 20s or in your 30s, it is also about the experience you have and being willing to talk and a lot of players here are willing to talk and encourage each other.

“Conor Coady, for example, is a real leader – he speaks to us a lot, encourages us a lot and makes sure training standards are high and things like that are important for the team.”

Saka admits he does not know if he will take on a similar role in the future but, with 13 caps to his name already, he can already be a fountain of knowledge to newcomer Smith Rowe.

Having scored three goals in his last three Premier League games, Smith Rowe was promoted to the senior squad for the first time after James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford withdrew.

“He is my friend so of course, if he needs anything I’m sure he will ask me,” added Saka – talking at an exclusive training session held by Weetabix, headline partners of the Weetabix Wildcats.

“If he needs anything, he knows I’m here for him. I think he deserves it.

Bukayo Saka, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker at St George’s Park for an exclusive training session with Weetabix prize winners.
Bukayo Saka (centre), Jordan Henderson (right) and Kyle Walker at St George’s Park for an exclusive training session with Weetabix prize winners (FA handout/PA)

“He has been playing extremely well for Arsenal, especially this season he is really starting to have an effect on games, scoring goals for us and winning games for us.

“I’m really happy for him, I’m really happy he is here and I hope he can kick on and have a fantastic week, hopefully continue his club form here as well.”

:: Weetabix is partnering with The Football Association to encourage kids to be active and make healthier choices. For more info visit Weetabix Wildcats – Weetabix Cereals

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