Bukayo Saka has been told that he should “cheat” and focus on attacking when England come up against France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.
The Arsenal winger has shone for England at the World Cup as he has netted three goals in his four appearances.
He got on the scoresheet as Gareth Southgate’s side beat Senegal 3-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup.
The Three Lions have a tough test next as they face 2018 World Cup winners France.
Les Bleus have looked brilliant in patches in Qatar and Kylian Mbappe has been one of the tournament’s best players.
The PSG superstar is currently the leading scorer in the tournament as he has five goals.
Kyle Walker will have to be at his best to keep Mbappe quiet and he will likely need some assistance from Saka if both players start.
But ex-Liverpool and England midfielder Adam Lallana thinks Saka may benefit from neglecting his defensive duties.
‘Messi is fresher than anyone else and capable of weaving his magic,’ Lallana wrote for The Times.
‘He may walk the most, but he is also taking in the most information. He could well be the cleverest player who has ever played the game.
‘The implication tends to be that he is cutting corners with his team, whether that is Argentina or at club level with Paris Saint-Germain.
‘You often hear people say, ‘This player cheats out of possession. He doesn’t defend properly’.
‘Believe me, at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp would want Mohamed Salah to ‘cheat’, when it came to the defensive side of their game.’
Lallana later suggested that Saka’s ‘calmness’ helps him when he plays for England.
‘There has been so much focus on how to stop Kylian Mbappe, but England do not want Saka doubling up with right-back Kyle Walker every time the French attacker gets the ball,’ Lallana added.
‘If he does that, then Saka is going to be too deep and he is not going to be as effective on counterattacks, which is one of his great strengths.
‘I do not see England being inhibited by their opponents and so Saka will, once again, have a key role to play at both ends of the pitch.
‘What has been striking is his calmness in an England shirt. He seems that sort of person anyway. For example, he is not overly aggressive in his body language when he gets fouled.
‘But what sticks out is that in the decisive moments, he exudes calm. When you are in the final third, the ball comes to you and you are going to shoot, there can be an element of panic. With Saka, it looks like time stands still for him.’
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