Southgate hails ruthless Saka after stunning England strike

By Sports Desk March 26, 2023

Gareth Southgate praised the ruthlessness of Bukayo Saka after his starring role in England's 2-0 win over Ukraine.

England made it six points from two Euro 2024 qualifiers with a routine win at Wembley on Sunday.

Saka, a leading light in Arsenal's challenge for the Premier League title, supplied the assist for Harry Kane's opener in the 37th minute.

He then made it 2-0 three minutes later by bending a magnificent long-range strike into the top-right corner, his eighth goal for the Three Lions.

"It is a top-level finish [from Saka]," Southgate told Channel 4. 

"That is the ruthless part he has added to his game in the last 18 months or so. There were times you weren't sure he was going to finish, but now he has that confidence in front of goal."

England were in control throughout, with Ukraine never looking likely to produce a comeback in a game where they did not manage a shot on target.

The command England enjoyed naturally delighted Southgate, who also had plaudits for James Maddison, the Leicester City playmaker creating five chances in an impressive showing.

"The risk is that when you have control of the game you have the odd sloppy pass, but the application throughout was excellent," added Southgate.

"We have broken down a lot of barriers over a period of time. We still had that question mark over some of the bigger teams. 

"We are starting to win those games now but there is still lots of room for improvement. 

"To back up the Italy result was important, but there is still room to grow."

"We are always trying to think about now and what is next. We did that with James Maddison today. We thought it was a good game to see him.

"He was defensively very solid. It was nice to get Ivan Toney on the pitch as well. We will always look at people, but we have to qualify and we can't take that for granted."

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