Gareth Southgate reveals reason for starting Bukayo Saka ahead of Manc United’s Jadon Sancho

Gareth Southgate has revealed why he opted to start Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka over new Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho for England’s Euro 2020 semi-final against Denmark.

The Gunners’ starlet started The Three Lions’ wins over the Czech Republic and Germany but was dropped to the bench for their 4-0 route of Ukraine after he suffered a small knock against Joachim Lowe’s side.

Saka was replaced by Manchester United’s new £72.9million signing Jadon Sancho, who performed admirably in Rome, offering a rare blend of pace, drive and excellent ball retention to help England reach their first semi-final of a major tournament since 1996.

However, the 21-year-old was named on the bench for tonight’s semi-final and Southgate revealed that Saka was preferred to the former Borussia Dortmund wideman because he provides more balance to the front three.

“He’s really embraced the challenge, we were very pleased with Jadon [Sancho] at the weekend, everybody knows we’ve got fantastic options in those areas”, Southgate said before the match.

“We felt with the balance for tonight that Bukayo is the right choice.”

Former Arsenal frontman Ian Wright agreed with Southgate’s decision to start the reigning Gunners’ Player of the Season, heaping praise on the 19-year-old during the pre-match buildup.

“We’re talking about someone that joined Arsenal’s academy at age 7”, Wright told ITV.

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“He’s progressed through, he’s always been somebody that’s played at a higher level. He’s played for England since he was 16, he’s played at every level.

“He’s not just arrived here, he’s somebody that was destined to do what he’s doing right now.

“That’s why everyone at Arsenal knows what he’s capable of, and we’re seeing it right now.”

Saka enjoyed a productive 2020/21 campaign with the North London side, registering seven goals and ten assists across all competitions in what was ultimately a dismal campaign for the club.

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