Saka expected to start over Sancho as England face Denmark

Joe Williams
Bukayo Saka Arsenal England
Bukayo Saka Arsenal England

England winger Bukayo Saka is expected to replace Jadon Sancho in Gareth Southgate’s starting line-up for their Euro 2020 semi-final clash against Denmark.

The Arsenal youngster trained on Monday and Tuesday after recovering from a knock that saw him left out of Southgate’s XI for their comfortable 4-0 victory over Ukraine in the quarter-finals.

“He should be fine,” Southgate said on Sunday when asked about Saka’s fitness. “He did declare himself available for the game but we had not really had the chance to see him on the pitch and working at the level we felt would vindicate that decision.

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“He will go back into full training with the group (on Monday) and he should be fine.”

England face Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday night, looking to reach their first major final since winning the 1966 World Cup and The Independent claim that Southgate is ‘considering bringing in Bukayo Saka for Jadon Sancho against Denmark, in what is likely to be the only change’ from the win over Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Southgate believes the history of the England team is not as good as the nation likes to think but feels his team have broken down barriers on their run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

Speaking yesterday, Southgate said: “We don’t have as a good as football history as we like to believe sometimes.

“These players are making massive strides and breaking barriers all the time, we have broken barriers in this tournament and we have another opportunity to do that tomorrow.

“We’ve never been to a European Championship final so we can be the first, which is really exciting for everybody.

“We respect the Danes, I’m obviously old enough to remember them winning it…so I’ve always been a fan of the players that Denmark have produced, their football is incredible.”

Reaching the semi-final of either the European Championship or World Cup for just the sixth time in their history, the Three Lions will be favourites under the arch.

But – considering Denmark lifted the European Championship title in 1992 and have a better record than their semi-final opponents in the competition, Southgate feels the visitors could be under more pressure than his own side to succeed.

He added: “We’ve had expectation during the whole tournament and I think we have dealt with that really well, in the opening game (against Croatia) for example, and in the game with Germany.

“But we’ve never been to a final so the pressure is what you choose it to be really, I think it is a motivating thing, it is a challenge for us.

“If we were a country that had won five titles and had to match what had gone before I might feel differently – but we are not.

“Denmark have won it so maybe there is more pressure on Denmark to replicate that – but it is not the way we are viewing the game, we know it is about performing on the day.”