England midfielder, Bukayo Saka has played down suggestions that his current run of England form is comparable with Kylian Mbappe’s during France’s run to World Cup glory in 2018.
Arsenal star Saka has been a favorite of Gareth Southgate’s since making his Three Lions debut in 2020.
He has already scored three goals this tournament, with the most recent coming in Sunday’s 3-0 win against Senegal in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Speaking to the media on Monday, it was put to Saka that his current run mirrors Mbappe’s from Les Bleus’ triumph of four years ago, scooping the tournament’s young player award along the way.
“Thank you for your compliment, but no…I think there’s only one Kylian Mbappe!” Saka said.
“At the same time there’s only one me. I just want to be myself and help my team in the best way I can. There’s a lot of young players in this tournament, I can name so many. Even in our team, there’s a young player who’s doing unbelievably well in Jude Bellingham.
“I’m just happy we are all here and doing well. The priority is to win the tournament rather than be the player of the tournament or the young player of the tournament.”
France, who beat Poland 3-1 in the last 16 to book a date with England, will represent a significant leap in quality for the Three Lions but the ‘major’ rivalry between the two nations excites rather than frightens Saka.
“The rivalry at this World Cup is great – two nations who have performed exceptionally well,” said the Arsenal winger.
“We’ve been following them and we see the quality they have. it will be an exciting game.
“Of course we know their quality, but we also know our own quality. We just have to play our best game.”
He added: Of course I think so [England] Team has many players who have played in major tournaments – lots of tournament experience. We’ve done well in the last couple of tournaments.
“When the big games come we have a lot of players who know what they have to do.”
Saka enjoys the duel against the defending champion in view of the “big” rivalry
As good as Saka and the rest of the front line have been – they are the tournament’s top scorers so far – the Arsenal ace was quick to praise defense as a foundation for success.
Senegal went the third of four games without conceding, with only Iran scoring against Jordan Pickford.
“I think especially if you look at our first four games – we conceded three goals,” said Saka.
Thanks to the backline. At the same time we scored the most goals – I think we have to prepare the best game possible.