Bukayo Saka has credited Mikel Arteta with helping him make a spectacular World Cup debut in England’s 6-2 hammering of Iran.
Gareth Southgate put his trust in the Arsenal winger, who began on the right side for the Three Lions in place of Manchester City’s Phil Foden.
The 21-year-old scored twice in England’s World Cup opener, as the Three Lions won 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Saka’s only previous major tournament experience was a heartbreak as he missed the game-winning penalty against Italy in the Euro 2020 final.
The 21-year-old put that disappointment behind him on Monday, scoring twice as Southgate’s side started their season with a resounding victory.
Saka has been a mainstay of Arsenal’s unexpected title challenge this season, with the results of Arteta’s labour finally bearing fruit after nearly three years in charge.
‘I’ve grown in many ways,’ Saka told talkSPORT after being named man of the match.
‘Of course I’ve got more big games under my belt, experience, more minutes.
‘And with each game you always learn more and more and when I have a coach at Arsenal and a coach here that are so supportive, so much tactical detail to help me in training sessions and on the pitch, there’s no way I was never going to improve.’
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Saka also believes England’s resounding victory has served as a wake-up call to England’s World Cup rivals.
He added: ‘It shows what we can do when we play at our best, that we do have quality to go forward, to defend.
‘We’re a team that’s very good.