England manager Gareth Southgate has revealed he never had any specific conversation with Bukayo Saka to dump Nigeria for the Super Eagles.

Southgate, however, admits that Saka will add more depth to the Three Lions left side following his first senior call-up.

Saka, 19, turned down Nigeria after he was named in England’s squad ahead of the upcoming matches against Wales, Belgium, and Denmark.

Bukayo Saka

The Arsenal youngster is capable of playing either as a left-back or in a more advanced role.

Asked about Saka’s decision to turn down Nigeria in favour of England, Southgate replied: ‘I’ve not talked specifically to Bukayo about that.

‘I think so many of our players are eligible for dual-nationality, sometimes for more than two countries.

We’ve been impressed with his progress through our system.


‘I thought at times for Arsenal last year, at times really exciting. Still very young, still learning, of course, but improving all the time. High potential, really good quality.

‘Everybody that’s worked with him tells me he’s a very level-headed, intelligent boy.

‘So it’s an area of the pitch we’re keen to look at a different profile of the player. He can play a number of different roles very comfortably.’

Apart from Saka, Southgate also handed maiden call-ups for the duo of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Harvey Barnes on Thursday ahead of England’s UEFA Nations League ties against  Belgium (Oct 11) and Denmark (Oct 14).

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