Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams has backed Bukayo Saka to become a ‘superstar’ after the youngster’s disappointment in the Euro 2020 final.
The 19-year-old enjoyed a fine 2020/21 season, notching seven goals and ten assists to earn himself the Gunners’ Player of the Season award, as well as a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championships.
His inclusion raised a few eyebrows as a number of England supporters had called for West Ham United loanee Jesse Lingard to be in the squad ahead of the Arsenal youngster.
However, these frustrations were soon quashed as the tricky winger was awarded UEFA’s star of the match award after an impressive display in the final group stage fixture against the Czech Republic.
Saka then followed this up with solid displays against Germany and Denmark in the knockout stage, even forcing Danish defender Simon Kjaer into an own goal after a delightful driven cross in the semi-final.
Still, the Hale End graduate was named on the bench for Wembley’s showpiece final against Italy on Sunday, coming on as a substitute for Atletico Madrid fullback Kieran Trippier in the 70th minute before bravely stepping up for the deciding spot-pick as the Azzurri triumphed on penalties after Saka’s effort was saved by Paris Saint-Germain shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Despite his international disappointment, Adams has backed Saka to come back stronger and become a ‘superstar’ in the coming years.
“Hats off to Saka,” Adams told the Official England podcast. “He’s had an outstanding season for Arsenal and an outstanding tournament for his country, and we just don’t want to lose him now, we don’t want to lose him.
“This won’t affect him, he’s strong, he’s got a good family and a lot of people around him. I think that kid is going to be a superstar, he already is a superstar, and he can be very proud of himself, he’s had a fabulous, fabulous tournament.”