Read the latest 2022 Qatar World Cup news here.

BBC pundit criticises Bukayo Saka for World Cup form after Arsenal win
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

BBC pundit criticises Bukayo Saka for World Cup form after Arsenal win

Garth Crooks has bizarrely suggested to BBC Sport that Bukayo Saka looked to be off the pace during the World Cup as he named the Arsenal star in his team of the week following the resumption of the Premier League season.

Saka picked up where he left off before the break as the Gunners won again. Mikel Arteta’s men came from behind to beat West Ham and put further pressure on Manchester City.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The 21-year-old scored the Gunners’ equaliser against the Hammers. And he caused all sorts of problems for Aaron Cresswell at the Emirates.

Saka apparently off the pace for England at the World Cup

For many, Saka was a real shining light for England at the World Cup. He was brilliant throughout the tournament, scoring a delicious goal to round off the last 16 win over Senegal. And he also won the penalty that allowed the Three Lions to equalise against France in the quarter-final.

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Many would have felt that he was one of England’s better players that night in Qatar. But Crooks has taken a different view as he praised his display against West Ham on Boxing Day.

“It was hardly a surprise to see Mikel Arteta hugging Bukayo Saka after Arsenal beat West Ham on Monday, given the lad’s performance. Saka had already given West Ham an early warning about the sort of form he was in when he had a superb strike ruled offside,” he told BBC Sport.

“This is a player who seems to grow with every international tournament. He may have been slightly off the pace when it mattered for England at the World Cup but the confidence he has acquired from being on the biggest stage is clear to see.”

It is hard to see what Crooks is talking about when it comes to Saka. Certainly, there are others who may not be overly happy with their contributions at the World Cup. But Saka is not one of those.

He was outstanding in Qatar. Rio Ferdinand expressed his disbelief that he missed out on FIFA’s team of the tournament while Phil Foden got in.

Of course, England not going further was good news for Arsenal. He was raring to go on Boxing Day. And he was able to make a real impact against David Moyes’ side.

It just seems odd that Crooks was happy with his performance against West Ham, but not in the latter stages of the World Cup.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

You may also like…