HomeEuro 2024EnglandTeddy Sheringham: Why Saka Shouldn’t Play Left Wing-Back

Teddy Sheringham: Why Saka Shouldn’t Play Left Wing-Back

Teddy Sheringham’s Concerns Over Bukayo Saka’s Role at Left Wing-Back

In a recent interview with Poker Sites, former England striker Teddy Sheringham expressed his reservations about Bukayo Saka’s performance as a left wing-back for the Three Lions. This insight comes at a crucial juncture in England’s campaign, with tactical decisions potentially making or breaking their progress in the tournament.

Saka’s Comfort Zone: Wing or Wing-Back?

Sheringham’s critique of Saka’s role was unambiguous. “I don’t think Bukayo Saka looked comfortable at left-back against Slovakia compared to how he was faring on the wing,” he stated. This observation highlights a broader issue of positional flexibility versus specialist roles within the squad. Saka, a natural winger, was tasked with replacing Kieran Trippier, a move that didn’t sit well with Sheringham.

“He’s not exactly going to say to Gareth Southgate that he doesn’t want to play there or left wing-back if he gets asked to, but it’s not his ideal position,” Sheringham continued. The reluctance of players to voice their discomfort in non-preferred roles is a nuanced challenge that managers like Southgate must navigate carefully.

Square Pegs in Round Holes

Sheringham didn’t shy away from addressing a recurring theme in England’s tactical setup. “This England team have been guilty of putting square pegs in round holes this tournament, like what they did with Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield. You can’t keep trying these things and expect to get away with it against the top teams.” His assertion underscores the risks associated with experimental positioning, especially against formidable opponents.

Saka’s inconsistent form throughout the tournament further complicates this issue. Despite his struggles, Sheringham acknowledged his talent, stating, “Saka has not been firing on all cylinders yet throughout the tournament, but he’s still a very good player and it’s close between him and Cole Palmer over who should play on the right-hand side of the attack.”

Walker: England’s Defensive Anchor

Switching focus to the defensive lineup, Sheringham also shared his thoughts on Kyle Walker’s performances. While acknowledging Walker’s dip in form against Slovakia, he reaffirmed his importance to the team. “Not at all! Walker didn’t have his best game against Slovakia the other day, but the game beforehand I thought he was phenomenal.”

Photo: IMAGO

The veteran striker’s insights into Walker’s role emphasise the variability in player performance during tournaments. “As a player, you’ll always have ups and downs in an international tournament – different attackers and different systems will give you different problems throughout.”

Sheringham’s endorsement of Walker as a starter is rooted in the defender’s leadership qualities. “He leads by example through his work rate and desire, and in encouraging other players to perform better – he should absolutely start every game for England.” This sentiment echoes the need for experienced players to maintain consistency and morale within the squad.

Predicting a Narrow Victory Over Switzerland

Looking ahead to England’s quarter-final clash against Switzerland, Sheringham predicted a closely contested match. “It’s going to be very tight against Switzerland,” he said. His realistic outlook reflects the competitive nature of international tournaments, where expectations must be tempered with caution.

Sheringham’s forecast of a 1-0 victory encapsulates his pragmatic approach. “The supporters aren’t expecting England to win 6-0 anymore. Switzerland have been in and around the late stages of big tournaments for a while now and they know how to play. As long as we get through the next round, I think the English public will be okay with that.”

His confidence in a narrow win highlights the importance of resilience and tactical discipline. “It’s going to be a hard-fought game – I’m going with a 1-0 win. I’d take that all day long!”

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