Saka scored and assisted in England’s 4-0 win against Andorra at Wembley, where he missed the decisive penalty during the Euro 2020 final penalty shoot-out, leasing to him being the subject of racist abuse
Bukayo Saka has responded to the heartwarming reception he received during England ‘s 4-0 victory over Andorra.
The Arsenal starlet, who turned 20 on Sunday, matched a Gunners legend’s record during the World Cup qualifier, becoming the first player from the North London club to score and assist at Wembley since Ian Wright did against Moldova in 1998.
Saka missed the decisive penalty in the Euro 2020 final penalty shoot-out, subsequently being the subject of racist abuse on social media.
He netted the Three Lions’ fourth and final goal of the Group I clash, nodding a header home after Jesse Lingard picked up Trent Alexander-Arnold’s short corner.
Lingard had scored twice, either side of a Harry Kane penalty as Gareth Southgate’s men maintained their 100% record during qualification ahead of the tournament in Qatar next winter.
Saka revealed while being interviewed on ITV : “[It was] the perfect birthday present for me.
“I’m really happy we got the win and that I celebrate my birthday like this.”
The crowd at Wembley, like those of Arsenal’s opponents this season, gave the youngster a rousing reception, something he was grateful for.
“I’m really happy with the reception everyone gave me,” Saka said.
“It really shows how proud they are of me and I think that meant a lot for me and made me want to give my all and obviously I’m happy that we got the win.
“I think it means a lot, it really made a difference for me [the reception], only just now I can hear so many fans cheering my name so it means everything to me and shows that everyone supports me through thick and thin so it’s nice.”
He added: “This is what I dream about to play at Wembley, in front of my friends and family, a crowd and score on my 20th birthday so really happy.”
On the Gunners-related feat, Wright, who was punditry duty, stated: “I remember it well that was Lady Diana night, special night.
“What else it does gets you going again, that’s all he needs to do now,” Wright noted.
“What he does for club and country is what will get rid of those memories then he can exonerate those memories.”
England boss Southgate was pleased with Saka’s reception, describing him as a “popular” member of the Three Lions group, well-liked by much of the nation due to their efforts on and off the pitch.
“I hope closure if needed, but I don’t think there’s a player in that dressing room who thinks anything other than positive about him or what he did all summer.
“He got a fabulous reception before the game, during the game and it’s lovely because you can see how popular he is with the rest of the team as well.”