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16th Feb 2024

Rio Ferdinand claims Bukayo Saka ‘isn’t a world class player’

Callum Boyle

Bukayo Saka

‘Saka’s top, don’t get me wrong’

Rio Ferdinand wants to see more from Bukayo Saka before he can be defined as world class. Saka recently became the youngest player in more than 40 years to reach 50 and also reached 100 goal contributions after his two goals in the 6-0 win against West Ham at the weekend.

The 22-year-old has also become one of the leading figures under Mikel Arteta’s guidance and is regularly one of the first names on the team sheet at international level.

Despite that though, Ferdinand feels that Saka needs to take his game to the next level on the big stage in order to be defined as world class.

Speaking on his Vibe with FIVE podcast, the former defender said: “Not yet. Listen, I think Saka’s been unreal. I actually think he needs a bit of a rest, so many games for a young kid.

“But I think, it’s almost like what is world-class? He hasn’t done it in the Champions League, has he? I’m talking in the nitty-gritty stages.

“Saka’s top, don’t get me wrong. He’s not world-class yet.”

One player that Ferdinand does think is world class however is Manchester City’s Phil Foden.

Man City’s local boy has been in sensational form of late and after their win against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday night, in which Foden was on the scoresheet again, Ferdinand waxed lyrical about the midfield star.

“You’ve got to understand and respect and appreciate that, Phil Foden has done this, where the medals are handed out, he’s performed. He’s done that against the best teams. Consistently,” he said on TNT Sports.

“For what he does for the team, he’s important. Saka needs the opportunity to perform at that platform, that level, consistently and then we’ll see where he’s at. You can consider him then.”

Southgate has two luxury options at his disposal for Euro 2024

It’s a foregone conclusion that both Saka and Foden will be on the plane to Germany in the summer and are two of the main players in the Three Lions squad going forward.

Alongside Jude Bellingham, they are probably the three players you would pin your hopes on most to deliver success.

Foden and Saka have that ability to change games – even when they’re not at their very best and Southgate will look to both to deliver world class performances to bring home a first major honour since 1966.

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