Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Ashley Cole, Ray Parlour and Jack Wilshere.
What do they all have in common?
They are all graduates of Arsenal’s Hale End academy who have gone on to play for England. Those illustrious names have been joined by the Gunners’ latest starboy who has already shown that he has all the ingredients to become one of the best players in world football — Bukayo Saka.
Saka has five goals and three assists in 32 league games for Arsenal, but it’s not his stats that has persuaded Gareth Southgate to include him. In fact, James Ward Prowse, James Maddison, Jesse Lingard and Patrick Bamford all possess more clinical numbers to their names.
Southgate admitted that the decision wasn’t an easy one, but Saka’s ability to play in multiple positions put him above the other forwards and it’s likely that his hunger, attitude and professionalism also played a key part.
“Firstly, he has performed exceptionally well for us and well in a team that has had a difficult season,” he said in his squad announcement press conference.
“He went into a team that had a tough season and played with really character and skill. He can play four or five positions and that is a plus.”
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has utilised Saka in a number of positions since taking becoming Arsenal manager in December 2019.
Whether it be at left-back, left wing, right midfield, right wing or no.10, Saka has performed consistently at the top level and delivered during the moments his teammates struggled last season.
It’s not expected that Saka will play a huge number of minutes at Euro 2020, but given the opportunity you can be sure that he will do everything to grasp it.
“There is a risk (of burnout),” Arteta said.
“The schedule they have been through in the last two years has been crazy. He’s handled that situation really, really well.
“I know Gareth and he’s brilliant at managing them as well. I spoke with him about it, we just hope they do the right thing.
“But he’s very determined to go and help his country and he needs to enjoy that because he has earned every right to be there.”