Alan Smith says Arsenal have a truly 'great' talent in their ranks who understands the game so well
Arsenal star Bukayo Saka is a “great talent” with “fantastic ability”, according to Gunners legend Alan Smith.
The north Londoners may have endured a pretty dire Premier League season, but Saka has shone for his team.
Saka has made 46 appearances for Arsenal in 2020-21, registering seven goals and 10 assists.
His superb performances and consistency have cemented his place as one of the leading young talents of today.
The 19-year-old has also made his England breakthrough this season.
Saka’s debut came in October last year and he now has four caps to his name.
He could add to his tally in the coming weeks as England named him in their Euro 2020 squad.
Smith acknowledges that Saka was on the “borderline” of making the team.
However, he says the Arsenal ace is by no means “raw” and can offer Gareth Southgate a lot at Euro 2020.
“Bukayo Saka deserves to be in, given how he’s performed for a poor Arsenal team at times,” he told Sky Sports.
“He has shown a lot of maturity, and a lot of versatility. That versatility has definitely helped him.
“He might have been on the borderline, with Jesse Lingard missing out, but I’m glad to see him in.
“He’s a player England will be able to use for many years to come.
“It’s invaluable experience just to be within a camp in a tournament like this, and he’ll learn an awful lot.
“People say he’s raw, but as a footballer I don’t think he is. He understands the game so well.
“His strengths are certainly going forward, and when he does, he has this fantastic ability to make the right decision and pick the right man out.
“And he’s strong on both sides.
“Defensively, he has played at full-back and wing-back, and still has a lot to learn on the defensive side.
“But he is a great talent.”
Teammates, fans, pundits and peers are running out of superlatives for Saka, which is no surprise really.
At just 19 years old, he’s already one of Arsenal’s best players, and arguably one of the best young footballers in Europe too.
This makes you wonder just how much better he can become in the next few years.
And with his contract running until 2024, he’s got plenty of time to deliver more magic for the Gunners – and hopefully for England too.
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