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Ian Wright praises Saka after brilliant display against Iran

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By Martin Graham | 23rd Nov 2022

Former Arsenal man and pundit Ian Wright waxed lyrical about Bukayo Saka after his incredible debut performance in the World Cup.

Saka scored two goals in England’s 6 – 2 thrashing of Group B opponents Iran in their opening game of the FIFA 2022 World Cup. His performance was one of the best as the Three Lions ran rampant in the seating heat of Doha against their opponents, who are no slouches themselves.

The Arsenal youngster scored the second and the fourth goals for England in a man-of-the-match performance before being replaced by Marcus Rashford, who bagged the fifth goal a minute after coming on.

Wright spoke highly about Saka, paying special attention to his second goal.

“Saka’s second goal, I know I have been going on about Saka,” said Wright. “But it’s just brilliant to see because of how tough it is.

“It was brilliant from Raheem (Sterling’s assist). It’s the composure. It’s the calmness. He’s blessed with a glorious purpose. To see him doing this.

“I didn’t think he was going to start. I thought they were going to start with Foden, but they started with him and he’s showing what he can do. We all know what he can do.”

Saka was but one of the youngsters who shone in the match. Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham also put in a stellar performance on his World Cup debut while bagging his first international goal for the Three Lions.

But the Hale End Academy product was the talk of the town especially after bagging a brace and the man of the match award.

Rio Ferdinand, commentating on the match for BBC One said about Saka’s performances: “He is devastating, the form he is in at the moment. He is at the top of the league with Arsenal, confidence is high.”

Speaking after the game, Saka reminisced on his struggles after the European championship and thanked his teammates for helping him recover.

“Every time I have the chance to pull on an England shirt I give 110 per cent and do my best to make the nation proud,” he said. “I can’t describe the feeling. I am so happy and so proud. We got the win as well, so it is a really special day.”

England manager Gareth Southgate was not happy with the match, however, because his team conceded twice to Iran. He praised Saka and the rest of the team, but called on them to be better defensively as they progress in the tournament.

“To win by that margin and play the way we did for the majority of the game, really happy,” Southgate told reporters after the game.

“Our pressing was really good, movement really good. I’ve got to be happy but we shouldn’t be conceding 2 goals. We will have to be on it against United States.”

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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