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Choosing between Nigeria, England will be tough – Saka

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Saka

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka admits it will be challenging to choose between England or Nigeria, should his impressive Premier League form be rewarded with international selection.

In a wide-ranging interview with Sky Sports News the teenager discussed a memorable few years rising through the ranks at Arsenal.

Saka is yet to receive a call-up from either England or Nigeria but he’s attracting admiring glances from both associations.

For the modest but confident 18-year-old, it is a decision that will require careful consideration with family members at the right time.

“It’s a tough choice,” Saka revealed.

“I’m happy to have represented England at youth level but I’m also proud of my Nigerian heritage from my parents.

“We haven’t been picked by any team so it’s about staying humble and when the time comes we’ll make the decision.”

Mikel Arteta, like Unai Emery before him, is certainly placing his trust in Saka who has scored in the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League during his 38 appearances this season.

“Being young and at a big club if you are in the team over an experienced professional the manager is basically telling you without speaking that I believe in you.

“(He’s saying) go and do what you can do and that belief gives me so much confidence. Arteta is so detailed and clear and a lot of the players will tell you we are learning from him.

“I feel like we’re going in the right direction and we’re working hard to hit the ground running next season.”

Saka recently scored his first Premier League goal and was rewarded with Arsenal’s No 7 shirt, previously worn by Robert Pires, Tomas Rosicky and David Rocastle.

“I was so excited to get it. It’s stuff you dream of and to think of the legends who have had it is such an honour,” he said.

“I liked the number growing up because some of the best players in the world have worn it.

“It shows how much confidence they have in me and I want to repay their faith and hopefully can write my own history in that shirt.”

In recent years the youngster has gone from watching Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to assisting his goal at Old Trafford earlier this season.

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The youngster added:

“In the academy we got tickets to watch (the first team) and I used to see him scoring goals. To now be playing with him is just amazing.

“You know he’s going to score a goal for us. He’s such a good guy who helps all the young players with advice and he’s also funny as well!”

Saka spoke in similar fashion about Arsenal legend Thierry Henry when the Frenchman gave a talk to the academy players a couple of years ago.

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He revealed this particular session spent in the company of Henry was on his mind recently when he scored a first league goal.

“His mindset was just so elite,” Saka explained.

“He told us about a day that Arsenal were behind and he wouldn’t allow his team to lose before running past everyone to score!

“When he speaks to your face and you see in his eyes how passionate he is for the game and how much he wanted to win it shows why he was such a great player.

“You dream of trying to emulate a career like his. As a young player that just inspires you and that’s why scoring against Wolves meant so much to me.”

Next weekend Saka can emulate Norman Whiteside if he scores in the FA Cup final as an 18-year-old, and although Whiteside’s record of youngest scorer in the decider is safe, it would be a proud moment for him.

“The chance to win a trophy in my first full season is amazing. If you told me last year all of this would happen I wouldn’t have believed you!

“We have Watford to focus on first to try to build momentum. They are going to be fighting for their lives because they want to stay in the Premier League but we want to win.

“It would be a shame if we have to send them down but at Arsenal we have a winning mentality and want to win every game.”

The “humble” teenager admitted he is feeling “blessed” after signing a new long-term deal earlier in July.

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Europa: Sevilla beat Wolves 1-0, to face Man United in semis

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Sevilla midfielder Lucas Ocampos headed a late goal to snatch a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers as they reached the Europa League semi-finals on Tuesday after the English side paid the price for an early penalty miss.

Raul Jimenez saw his hesitant spot-kick easily saved by goalkeeper Bono in the 13th minute of the single-leg tie and Wolves failed to muster a shot on target after that as former Real Madrid and Spain coach Julen Lopetegui’s side took control.

Five-times winners Sevilla, who will face Manchester United in the last four in Cologne on Sunday, enjoyed 73% of possession and won 14 corners to none for Wolves in a one-sided game.

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Wolves, playing in their first European quarter-final for 48 years, appeared to feel the effects of a marathon season which saw them play 59 matches, including 17 in the Europa League starting at home to Crusaders on July 25 last year.

Yet the Midlands team made a promising start with Adama Traore at the centre of things. Having set up an early chance which Raul Jimenez headed straight at Bono, the Spaniard powered into the area and was tripped from behind by Diego Carlos.

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Jimenez, who usually waits for the keeper to move, appeared caught in two minds and his effort was comfortably stopped by Bono with a dive to his left. It was the Mexican’s first penalty miss for Wolves after converting his previous eight efforts.

Sevilla dominated the match after that, passing the ball around in the centre of the pitch, but it was fairly unproductive possession and they created few openings.

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The second half was a similar story with Wolves apparently happy to allow Sevilla to knock the ball around in midfield.

But the Spaniards grew more dangerous towards the end and broke through with two minutes left. Their 13th corner was rolled to Ever Banega and he curled a cross into the area which Ocampos flicked past keeper Rui Patricio.

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Mexico’s third tier club, Coyotes Tlaxcala, ‘court’ Cristiano Ronaldo

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Cristiano Ronaldo has been told how “handsome” he would look in the kit of a Mexican third tier side.

Coyotes Tlaxcala made the flirty transfer approach to the Juventus star on Twitter amid rumours over his future.

The team based in the state of Tlaxcala – just east of Mexico City – mocked up a picture of Ronaldo in their red camo style kit accompanied by a witty caption.

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They wrote:

“Did you see how handsome you would look with the Coyotes, my commander @Cristiano Ronaldo?

“But, you strawberries, tell Juventus to answer the phone to us.”

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Barca reject RB Leipzig, Gladbach offers for Ilaix Moriba

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Barcelona have turned down Borussia Monchengladbach and RB Leipzig’s approaches for highly-rated 17-year-old midfielder, Ilaix Moriba.

According to AS Sport, the German outfits wanted to take him on loan, but Barca are not interested in letting him go.

Ilaix Moriba is one of the most promising young people in Europe. Despite being a first-year youth, the midfielder has already established himself in the midfield of Garcia Pimienta’s Barça B and in the U-17 team.

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Sports director Eric Abidal is very confident in the progression of the midfielder and wants him to be the leader of Barça B next season.

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