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Published 21 November 2022 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Bukayo Saka really feeling the love from England's fans, players and staff

Written by:

Frank Smith

Saka and Kieran Trippier react to England's 6-2 win over Iran

Bukayo Saka stated he ‘really feels the love’ from the England fans and is determined to give his all every time he has the Three Lions on his chest.

Saka was selected in England’s starting XI for their opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the Arsenal star didn’t disappoint.

The Arsenal star was one of a number of young players in the Three Lions’ side who impressed inside the Khalifa International Stadium and the 21-year-old scored in either half during England’s 6-2 win over Iran.

Saka said: “I feel like I’m in a good place. I really feel the love from the fans, from the coaching staff and my team-mates and that’s all I need. I feel good and I’m ready to give 100%, I gave that today and I’m ready to do that every time I put the shirt on.”

England had already taken the lead through a Jude Bellingham header when Saka scored on his World Cup debut with a beautifully-taken strike.

Bukayo Saka was part of an exciting England line-up against Iran
Bukayo Saka was part of an exciting England line-up against Iran

The forward then grabbed a second to make it 4-0 around the hour mark when he showed great composure before slotting home another left-footed finish.

Iran may have grabbed a couple of goals through Mehdi Taremi but it did little to take away from a hugely impressive performance from the Three Lions and the likes of Saka.

He said: “I can’t describe the feeling, it’s amazing. I’m so happy, I’m so proud and we got the win as well – it’s a special day. 

“We needed that good start. We didn’t play the best coming into the tournament so there was a lot of talk and speculation about our form but we showed everyone today how much quality we have and what we can do. 

“It’s amazing to get the win but we know we have to be consistent because we have the next game coming up in a few days and we have to win again.”

Saka and Bellingham are likely to attract plenty of column inches in the coming days after impressive and mature performances, despite being just 21 and 19 years old respectively.

And Kieran Trippier, who is one of the squad’s more senior players at 32, said: "I'm absolutely delighted for them. It's their first game, their first goals [at a World Cup]. They've worked extremely hard over the past 18 months and they've got great experience for such a young age. 

“This tournament is for them to express themselves, they're such quality players, just enjoy it."

Despite scoring six goals and recording a memorable victory, manager Gareth Southgate stressed after the match that his team will need to be better if they are to have a successful World Cup.

Kieran Trippier was impressed with the performances of players like Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham
Kieran Trippier was impressed with the performances of players like Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham

It is a sentiment shared by Trippier, who struck a balance between understanding the magnitude of such a win at a World Cup but also recognising tougher challenges are ahead.

Trippier said: "We're on the same page, we all are. It was a good three points but there were moments in the game where we know we can improve, myself as well where I gave the ball away a couple of times. We can improve as always but we've got to enjoy the three points.

"It's massive, winning the first game in a group is always important. We wanted to be on the front foot, which we were, and most importantly we were clinical in the right moments.

"You can see the attacking players we've got, the players that came off the bench made a massive impact. We've got such quality in our team, it's just about expressing ourselves. 

“We can enjoy this game, we can still learn from moments in this game, and focus on the next game against USA.”

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