The former Manchester United defender believes the exciting Arsenal youngster should be left out of Gareth Southgate’s first XI against Italy
The Euro 2020 final could be ‘one game too many’ for Arsenal star Bukayo Saka, claims Gary Neville, with the former Manchester United defender looking for Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho to fill the starting line-up against Italy.
Gareth Southgate showed confidence to the 19-year-old Gunners at the European Championships this summer, with Saka made his start XI three times.
Two of the outings were in the knockout phase, against Germany in the last-16 and the semi-final with Denmark, but Neville believes more experience and direct running against the Azzurri will be needed silverware on the line.
What was said?
Neville, who helped England to the last four of Euro 96 and won 85 tournaments for his country, said Sky Sports: “I agreed to bring him [Saka] back [against Denmark] because I felt he was the liveliest of the wide players, along with Raheem Sterling. I’m not sure he will start Sunday. I think it might just be too much for him.
“What he did last night, the amount he gave in this tournament, I just feel like we’ll see someone else. I’m looking at (Giorgio) Chiellini and (Leonardo) Bonucci, and I think, who does not want them? ? in those wide areas, which make within runs?
‘I actually think it could be a match for Rashford or Sancho to accompany Sterling in those wide positions.
‘I think those wide positions should be fast players working out in runs, so I do not think we will see Saka on Sunday.
“I think it could be one game too many for him. I was there at Euro 1996 as a 21-year-old and was absolutely exhausted when I went through the tournament.
‘I just feel like he could be a handy sub to have on Sunday and he [Southgate] can bring in other players who did not play Wednesday night. ‘
The bigger picture
Sancho, who is in the process of completing a £ 73 million ($ 101 million) transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester, started England’s quarter-final with Ukraine. Phil Foden and Jack Grealish also filled attacking beds from Euro 2020.
Red Devils star Rashford is yet to make a starting XI, but has come off the bench four times already.
Saka has only made seven senior outings for England, but looked alive during this series and will be desperate to play a role in the Three Lions’ attempt to end a 55-year wait for the international silverware.