At 21 years old, Bukayo is only the second youngest member of England’s World Cup squad and must compete with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham within the team in his quest for Premier League success.
That said, Bukayo has garnered plenty of attention because of his dominance along the left flank and his reactiveness to attacking moves and rapid switchovers to defense when the team loses the ball.
And his level of performance on the global stage, that is the FIFA World Cup, has drawn comparison to other contemporary players that are likely to book a place in the list of greatest of all times.
But the Arsenal winger’s latest press conference shows the player’s modesty in the face of such comparisons and his ability to retain his own identity in the sport.
The interviewer, while talking about Bukayo’s stellar capabilities on the pitch for England, says, “Tournaments like the World Cup make stars, and in Russia, it was Kylian Mbappe bursting onto the scene. You’re already a star but considering how well you’ve been playing, do you think you’d be the Kylian Mbappe of this World Cup?”
Bukayo, with an endearing chuckle, responds by saying, “First of all, thank you for your compliment but um… no. I think… I think there’s only one Kylian Mbappe and… at the same time, there’s only one me. You know, I just want to be myself and help my team in the best way I can.”
While preserving his uniqueness in the sport, Bukayo goes on to exalt his peers and teammates playing in the World Cup while offering a special mention to his 19-year-old teammate Bellingham.
“You know, there’s a lot of young players in this tournament. I can name so many… and even in our team, you know, there’s another young player alongside us doing unbelievably well… and Jude Bellingham as well” says Bukayo.
The Gunner sums up his answer while redirecting the focus to England’s strong presence in the World Cup and tells the journalist, “I’m just happy that we’re all here and we’re all doing well. The priority is to try and win the tournament rather than be the player of the tournament or young player of the tournament, like you said.”
After being benched for England’s fixture against Wales, Bukayo returned to the starting lineup for the team in their final group stage match against Senegal and dazzled Southgate with a laudable performance.