Gareth Southgate disagrees with Bukayo Saka after Arsenal star's position change claim

Gareth Southgate and Bukayo Saka
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate has admitted that he decided to move Bukayo Saka to left-back against Slovakia in order to give England more attacking impotence - a matter of days after the Arsenal star said he didn't think putting him out of position was the solution.

Saka started on the right-hand side for the fourth straight Euro 2024 match as the Three Lions entertained Slovakia in the round of 16 in Gelsenkirchen. Having begun slowly, Southgate's men went behind in the 25th minute thanks to a fine strike from Ivan Schranz, who finished off a neat attacking move.

England upped the ante as the game wore on but struggled to break down a resolute Slovakia defence. And in an attempt to change the context, Southgate decided to bring on Cole Palmer for Kieran Trippier in the 66th minute. That saw the Chelsea winger move to the right-wing and Saka drop down to left-back.

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Much improved after making changes, England equalised in the 95th minute as Jude Bellingham produced a moment of magic to acrobatically level. That took the tie to extra-time and it didn't take the Three Lions long to nod in front, with Harry Kane scoring less than 120 seconds after the restart.

Although there were some nervy moments, England held on to secure their passage into the quarter-final against Switzerland on Saturday. Saka impressed during his time at left-back and could be handed a start in that position for the last eight clash if Southgate decides to make some changes.

Speaking after the match, Southgate suggested that it could be an option for the rest of the tournament. "We felt that Bukayo at left-back gave us an extra attacking outlet," Southgate told BBC Radio Five Live. "It is a good option to have. I have to say the courage shown by the players was fantastic tonight."

This came two days after Saka claimed he did not think playing him at left-back was the right decision if Southgate chose to go down that route. "I don’t think putting me out of position is the solution," said the Arsenal winger when asked about the suggestion of playing at left-back for the national side.