For the second year in a row, Bukayo Saka has been voted England men’s player of the year.
The winger scoops the award after scoring seven goals in 10 games over the last month, including strikes against Iran and Senegal in the World Cup and a recent hat-trick against North Macedonia in a Euro 2024 qualifier.
He was handed his award on his 22nd birthday by Arsenal fan James Maddison after reporting to St. George’s Park for the September Interlull. England play Ukraine and then face Scotland in a friendly.
Saka was recently voted the PFA men’s players’ young player of the year, came second in Arsenal’s player of the season poll and was consistently nominated alongside teammate Martin Odegaard and Manchester City’s Erling Haaland for a host of other individual awards.
A special birthday surprise with a little help from @Madders10… 🎁
— England (@England) September 5, 2023
On accepting the award, Saka said: “I’m really grateful, thank you to everyone that has made this happen, it’s a nice birthday gift as well. I’m happy!”
Also on England duty this week is Eddie Nketiah. The country’s leading scorer at under-21 level, he’s had to bide his time for his first call-up to the senior squad but is determined to relish every minute of it.
“I’m really happy to be here, proud to be here and looking forward to helping the team,” he said in yesterday’s press conference.
“You’re mixing with great players, obviously a great manager as well. So just that sense of pride to be here, to progress through the age groups is obviously a nice feeling and to get here is a nice step.
“It has been a long journey and I have worked really hard to get up to this point so it was really nice to have that step. This is the pinnacle for an England player to get called up by the senior team. Once you are here the aim is to stay here.”
The 22-year-old faces stiff competition for game time from the likes of Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Callum Wilson but plans to use the week to pick their brains as he looks to take his game to the next level.
“I think it makes the conversation a little bit easier [now Kane has left Sp*rs],” he said.
“I might have a few notes in my phone! He is a world class striker. Today was my first session so I’m sure I’ll be in his ear all week – getting tips and learning.
“I think that’s another great opportunity to come away learn and and improve yourself and see what other top strikers do, how they prepare for games.”