There are only a handful of players in the world who enjoy the same limelight and success both on and off the field. And it’s only fair if some young player is rewarded or acknowledged for his monumental rise in the world of football.
For now, it’s Arsenal blistering forward, Bukayo Saka, who has caught the eye of the footballing world. The 20-year-old has established himself as one of the hottest talents in the game and has earned a place in England’s national team at a young age.
The Gunners have also reaped the benefits of Saka’s brilliance on the pitch with the youngster racking up 11 goals and seven assists in the Premier League season and ended it with Arsenal’s Player of the Season award, the second in two years.
Saka’s performance at the Euros last year was covered with a microscopic lens by fans and commentators, clearly stating that having the young Gunner up front gave an edge to England and increased the tempo of the game for the Three Lions.
But it wasn’t all rosy for the youngster who received a lot of racial abuse for missing the penalty that cost England the Euro Cup. Saka got a taste of what it was to be on the wrong side of the fans, but since then, it’s mostly been uphill.
Gareth Southgate has been a particular fan of the Arsenal’s number seven and gave Saka his start for England’s senior team at 18. In his total of 15 appearances for England, Saka has four international goals, and given the youngster’s growing support among the fans, it will be impossible to keep him out of the squad for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
This tectonic shift in the realms of English football was noticed by none other than the British monarchy. Buckingham Palace recently held a reception for 500 guests that included politicians, celebrities, business tycoons, and artists for celebrating the contribution of the people of Commonwealth in the United Kingdom ahead of the Commonwealth Games in July.
Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British throne and a Burnley fan, greeted these guests at the Palace, and among these respected gentlemen and ladies was the young footballing lad, Saka who grabbed the biggest opportunity of anyone’s lifetime — meeting the next King of your country.
“It is an honour to be invited here. Obviously, I know how valuable the royal family are and to be able to be here to meet them.” Saka was overwhelmed after meeting Prince Charles and had only Gareth Southgate to thank for allowing him to take a day off from England’s training camp who are competing in the UEFA Nations League.
“Obviously I had to leave the England camp, so I have to thank Gareth for letting me do that because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am so happy.”
England is winless in their previous two matches and with games against Italy and Hungary coming up, Southgate will look at Saka once again to ease them out of any uncomfortable situation.