Why Bukayo Saka should be England's first choice Left Back

Bukayo Saka has notched up a series of good performances this season.
Bukayo Saka has notched up a series of good performances this season.
Tejomay Kapadia

A breakout star in the Premier League, Bukayo Saka, has been one of Arsenal's best players this season. In fact, many consider him to be the club's third best performer behind captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Although his preferred position is on the left side of the midfield or even as a winger, Mikel Arteta was forced to deploy the youngster at left back due to injuries ruling out Sead Kolasinac and new signing Kieran Tierney.

However, the 18 year old grabbed the opportunity and has made the position his own, with his stats speaking for themselves.

He is absolutely scintillating going forward, making an astounding 1.4 dribbles on average per game in the League. This figure is better than his main competitor for the left back spot in the national team, Ben Chilwell, who averages 0.7 dribbles a game. Other world class left backs such as Jordi Alba and Andy Robertson also fall behind Saka in this respect completing an average of 0.6 dribbles a game each.

The Arsenal youth academy graduate is one of the Gunners' main sources of goal contributions, scoring 3 and assisting 10 goals in all competitions this season.

However, the fact that he is outstanding going forward does not mean his defensive game is sub par. In fact, he makes 1.8 tackles a game, bettering Chilwell's 1.6, Alba's 0.8 and Robertson's 1.7. He makes it very difficult to get past him and if someone does, he is rapid in his covering movement.

Saka is excellent offensively as well as defensively
Saka is excellent offensively as well as defensively

England's national team is a young and pacey outfit with a direct style of play and fast players all over the pitch. With Saka at left back, the three lions could line up with 4 at the back, playing Trent Alexander-Arnold in a more central role, similar to the one Philipp Lahm played in Guardiola's Bayern side, and Wan-Bissaka playing at right back.

A 5 at the back system would also work with Saka and Alexander-Arnold playing as wing backs complementing a front three of Sterling, Kane, and Sancho.

Whatever system Gareth Southgate decides to use, Saka would be a good fit, and with Euro 2020 postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Arsenal prodigy has that much more time to break into the national team.

Paul Merson has predicted the results for Chelsea vs Tottenham and other GW 2 fixtures! Click here

Edited by Abhimanyu Kulkarni


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