Wayne Rooney fears Gareth Southgate is set to make Bukayo Saka mistake at Euro 2024

England Legend Wyne Rooney

Wayne Rooney fears England manager Gareth Southgate is set to make a mistake by dropping Arsenal star Bukayo Saka at Euro 2024.

Southgate is expected to make changes for England’s final group game against Slovenia on Tuesday night after two underwhelming performances against Serbia and Denmark.

While Saka has been one of England’s better players in Germany, creating the assist for Jude Bellingham’s early opener against Serbia, he could be sacrificed as Southgate looks for answers in midfield.

Rooney ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Southgate dropped Saka, who was nominated for the Premier League young player of the season award last term after scoring 16 goals and making nine assists, and move Manchester City’s Phil Foden to the right.

While that would make room for pacey Newcastle United winger Anthony Gordon on the left, Rooney believes it would be a mistake to leave out Saka.

‘It wouldn’t surprise me if Gareth Southgate moves Phil Foden to the right, brings in Anthony Gordon and leaves Bukayo Saka out,’ Rooney told The Times.

Let’s start with Harry Kane and the noise around the captain,’ Rooney added. ‘OK, he has not had his best two games but he started slowly in the World Cup and Euro 2020 as well and knows how to pace himself at a finals.

‘However he’s playing, he can always get goals as we saw versus Denmark, and he is still the one in the side who is going to do the scoring.

‘I can understand why there is a debate raging about Harry but he has always delivered for England and I expect him to deliver again. However, now is his time to do so in this tournament and silence his critics.
England Coach Gareth Southgate and Bukayo Saka

‘It is true that he’s not playing with a lot of energy and since the friendly against Iceland he has not looked match fit. He appears tired but Harry always looks like this when he is slightly off it, and always plays through it and gets back into gear.

‘There’s also an element of him having played in a different way for Bayern Munich over the past 12 months, where he stays at the top of the pitch and they put energy around him.

‘So there’s also a natural bit of readjustment going on. I have no worries about him.’

England face Slovenia on Tuesday night as they look to advance to the Euro 2024 knockout stages as Group C winners.


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