Southgate plots to truncate Nigeria’s dream of Saka in Eagles
British-Born Nigerian and Arsenal’s starlet, Bukayo Saka, is among the three youngsters of the English Premier League penciled down by England manager, Gareth Southgate, when the FA Cup semi-final games involving four elite clubs hold between July 18 and 19, at the Wembley Stadium.
Nigeria had shown interest in Saka playing for the Super Eagles in the nearest future through the effort of the Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick, who described the striker born of Nigerian parents, as a goldfish with no hiding place.
Coach Gernot Rohr’s scout in London, Tunde Adelakun, was said to be keeping tabs on the Nigerian with a view to getting him switch his allegiance to Nigeria, after walking seamlessly into the Arsenal’s first team in the current season due to his immense talent.
Earlier, the English Football Association (EFA) had gained the services of two British-Nigerian stars- Chelsea’s duo of Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori, who were also approached by Pinnick before they became cap-tied to England last year. Once Saka is deemed fit for the Three Lions’ shirt, then Nigeria can as well forget having Saka adorn the green and white shirt.
Other players to be evaluated by Southgate on a close monitoring in the next weekend’s FA Cup semi-final duets are Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood and Manchester City’s Phil Foden.
Saka and the two other youngsters have been impressive since the restart of the Premier League. Southgate has been watching his England players on TV at home in North Yorkshire, but he is expected to travel to Wembley to evaluate the performances of several of his squad, as he steps up preparations for September’s UEFA Nations League games against Iceland, and Denmark.
Southgate, who is conscious that his squad for next year’s European Championship could be very different to the party he had been planning to name had the tournament taken place as scheduled this summer, is eager to become closely acquainted with the developing talent.
The return of Premier League after lockdown has limited the attendance of scouts and future opposition managers at matches. But the size of Wembley and the fact that it falls outside the jurisdiction of the top flight’s match-day protocols has given him the opportunity to return.