Joe Willock says his Arsenal teammate Bukayo Saka is an amazing player who he’s sure will be in the England u21 squad one day.
Bukayo Saka is still with the England u19s as things stand, receiving a call-up at that level for the most recent international break. U19 football is starting to seem a bit beneath his talents though, considering he’s becoming a first-team starter for Arsenal.
The likes of Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock and Eddie Nketiah, who are all playing roughly the same amount of first-team football as Saka, have already made the step up to the u21s. Willock thinks Saka is on the right track to join them.
“There are so many players coming through the ranks who are thriving with ability,” Willock said. “Saka isn’t in the squad but he’s an amazing player and I’m sure he will be one day.”
U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd has been saying something similar, suggesting the winger is on his radar. It’s always nice to hear praise from a teammate as well though.
After all, Willock has as much motivation to have the best players surrounding him as anyone. He knows the more talented his teammates, the easier his job becomes.
The duo regularly featured together for the u23s last season, and they both had their best season at academy level so far. That’s not a coincidence, as they pushed each other on to reach new levels.
Both of Willock’s u23 assists were for Saka, and the winger returned the favour on a couple of occasions as Willock had his best goalscoring season. Saka also assisted Willock’s first goal of 2019/20, carrying that form into the first team.
Maybe someday we’ll see them both doing the same for England’s senior side, but for now, a promotion to the u21s for Saka would be a step in the right direction.