West Ham manager David Moyes has added his voice to calls for Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka to start England’s first group match against Iran on Monday.
The 21-year-old has been a key figure for the Gunners, who currently top the Premier League table, and he believes that Gareth Southgate should consider selecting him ahead of Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling:
“Yes, England lost form this year but that can happen. I don’t think much has to change for them to be back on track. Maybe it’s just a case of finding a little freshness: bringing Bukayo Saka in for Raheem Sterling, a small tweak like that. Gareth has faced ridiculous criticism and is doing exactly the right thing by sticking to the players and principles that have got him to this point.”
As Moyes mentions, Southgate has come under a lot of pressure after a very disappointing Nations League campaign so he will be expected to make some big calls to get some improved performances from his players at the World Cup.
While the likes of Hammers captain Declan Rice are almost guaranteed a start, there are others, such as Sterling, who have been struggling for form at club level.
Southgate has placed his trust in the 27-year-old during previous major tournaments but there is a case to be made for him to be taken out of the lineup, especially considering Saka’s outstanding displays for Arsenal.