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Euro 2020

Southgate singles out “excellent” Saka for his performance as England qualify for next round.

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Southgate singles out "excellent" Saka for his performance as England qualify for next round. 1 Sportelo

England coach, Gareth Southgate has praised Bukayo Saka  after the Arsenal striker put in an excellent performance in England’s 1-0 win over the Czech Republic at Wembley, which secured top place finish in Group D.

Raheem Sterling once again scored the only goal of the game as the Three Lions booked a possible round of 16 meetings with Portugal, France, or Germany.

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The Manchester City forward headed home with a cross from Jack Grealish in an impressive performance by Southgate’s men in the first half.

While their level dropped somewhat in a gloomy second half, England can at least look forward to another game at Wembley in the knockout stages.

Speaking after the game, Southgate singled out Saka was his performance, telling ITV Sport: “I thought we started really well. We were stable with the ball. We worked on some things in training yesterday but credit to the players as they had to adjust. Without the ball, we changed what we were doing because of the change in personnel. It is a huge credit to the players that they were as stable without the ball as they were.

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“We hadn’t finalised everything as we got the shout during training (over the players needing to isolate). We have been super impressed with Bukayo Saka throughout the month. He was excellent up at Middlesbrough and we have liked him with and without the ball. His receiving tonight under pressure was fantastic.”

Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka won the Star man of the match for his outstanding performance. ( Photo by Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Saka also added his thoughts on the game, telling ITV Sport: “It was a really good performance from us. We played some really good football at times. With us already having qualified, we had more freedom to express ourselves. That showed in some of the football we played.

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“The manager told me to go out and express myself. To play how I have played for my club all season. Sometimes that means driving at the opponents and I did that and got us up the pitch. It was a good cross from Jack for the goal and Raheem was in the right place at the right time again. I was up there but not quite tall enough.

“It is important to be here at Wembley for the round of 16. We have won here a lot. With our fans, it is an extra man for us. I can only give my best when I am on the pitch.”

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