Bukayo Saka handed maiden Euro 2020 start vs Czech Republic

    Bukayo Saka has been handed his first start of Euro 2020 in England’s final group game against Czech Republic.

    Gareth Southgate has lavished praise on the Arsenal starlet in the past and he has now been rewarded for an excellent season.

    Saka’s inclusion is one of three changes Southgate has made from the Three Lions team that fell to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Scotland on Friday. His decision was complicated by news that Mason Mount – who has started both of England’s game so far – and Ben Chilwell would need to self-isolate after coming into contact with Chelsea teammate Billy Gilmour, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

    Mount has been replaced by Aston Villa talisman Jack Grealish. The popular Grealish will be joined in the middle of the park by Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips, with Southgate clearly unmoved by calls to drop one of the holding midfielders.

    Meanwhile, Saka has been brought in to replace Phil Foden who has started England’s first two games in a right forward berth. It is a role that the versatile player shone in while playing for Arsenal last season. During his 22 career appearances playing off the right so far, Saka has managed six goals and six assists.

    This includes a stunning display in Arsenal’s 4-0 win over Slavia Prague, in what was the second leg of the pair’s Europa League quarter-final tie.

    The final change Southgate has made ahead of the Czech Republic game is the introduction of Harry Maguire at centre-back. His inclusion comes at the expense of Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings who has done well in the tournament so far.

    There is no place in the lineup for Jadon Sancho, though. The Borussia Dortmund man finished the season strongly but is yet to feature at Euro 2020.

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