Gary Neville believes the Euro 2020 final against Italy on Sunday might be ‘too much’ for one of Gareth Southgate’s key men.
Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka regained his place in Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up on Wednesday evening as England sealed a nervy 2-1 win over Denmark in extra time. However, Neville believes that Sunday could be ‘one game too much’ for Saka, who missed the 4-0 quarter-final win over Ukraine with an ankle injury.
And the former Manchester United and England right-back believes that Jadon Sancho or Marcus Rashford should come in.
“I agreed with bringing him [Saka] back because I felt he had been the most lively of the wide players, along with Raheem Sterling,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“I’m not sure he will start Sunday. I think that might just be too much for him.
“What he did last night [Wednesday], the amount he has given in this tournament, I just feel we will see somebody else.
“I look at [Giorgio] Chiellini and [Leonardo] Bonucci, and I think, who wouldn’t they like to have in those wide areas, making those inside runs?
“And I actually think it could be a game for [Marcus] Rashford or [Jadon] Sancho to accompany Sterling in those wide positions.
TEAMtalk: Euro Paper Talk
Jason Thornton and Matt Briggs from TEAMtalk discuss all the latest gossip from around the football world, including Liverpool's interest in Sergej Milinković-Savić, the future of Manchester United target Gabriel Veron and much more transfer talk.
“Those wide positions need to be quick players, who make out to in runs. So I don’t think we will see Saka on Sunday. It might be one game too much for him.
“I was there in Euro 1996 as a 21-year-old and I was absolutely exhausted as I went through the tournament.
“I just feel that, on Sunday, he may be a handy sub to have and he [Southgate] may bring in other players, who haven’t played on Wednesday night.”
Cole issues apology to England man
Meanwhile, ITV pundit Ashley Cole admits he owed Kalvin Phillips a “little sorry” after admitting he was blown away by the midfielder’s performance in the England midfield against Denmark.
The Three Lions were forced to dig deep to overcome the dogged Danes on an emotional night at Wembley. A 2-1 win, after extra time, means England are in their first ever final since the 1966 World Cup.
And Leeds star Phillips – an ever-present under Gareth Southgate in the tournament – was once again at his commanding best. After a difficult first half, he then began to dominate the midfield. Indeed, no player on the pitch made more pressures or ball recoveries than he.
Indeed, Phillips’ fitness was a big reason why England ultimately gained control and wore Denmark down.
Leading up to the tournament, Cole had questioned Phillips’ selection. But after witnessing at first hand his display, he admitted the Leeds man now has his respect.
“It’s emotional,” Cole told ITV.
“I’ll say it live on air, I had to get Kalvin Phillips here and say to him, ‘you know what… big respect’.
“I think he’s been tremendous in this tournament, he’s been so solid and integral in this England
“For me that was my little ‘sorry’.”