Saka Gets Three Lions’ Invite to End Nigeria’s Interest in the Gunner


Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigerian-born, Arsenal left-back, Bukayo Saka, has received his first England invite to the Three Lions’ squad to play this month’s matches against Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

Saka who has remained in the radar of Super Eagles coaches due to his superb form last season was hesitant in committing his future to the country of his parents having played age grade football for England.

Gareth Southgate’s invitation to the Gunners’ player appears to have ended the quest to have him play for Eagles. Although new FIFA still opens a window of opportunity for him if not featured in a competitive tournament like the World Cup.

Saka along with Everton striker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Leicester’s Harvey Barnes were the three uncapped players in the squad released by Southgate yesterday.

Saka, 19, only made his England Under-21s debut last month but Southgate said he had been “impressed” with his progress through the Three Lions’ youth system.

“At times for Arsenal he has been very exciting,” Southgate said. “He is improving all the time – really high potential, really high quality.

“Everyone tells me he is intelligent and a really level-headed boy. It is an area of the pitch we are keen to look at a different profile of player and he can play a number of roles comfortably.”

Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden, who were sent home from Iceland last month after breaching coronavirus quarantine guidelines, were left out.

But Harry Maguire, who was withdrawn from that squad while he faced a court case in Greece, is in the 30-man squad.

Manchester United captain Maguire, 27, was given a suspended prison sentence on the Greek island of Syros after being found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and repeated attempts of bribery.

The centre-back maintains his innocence and has appealed against the decision, which nullifies the conviction.