Great Britain

Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka has been likened to Cristiano Ronaldo and starts at Man Utd

UNLUCKY to be hooked off for tactical reasons while Arsenal toiled with newly-promoted Aston Villa, Bukayo Saka announced himself on the mainstage in the Europa League.

The 18-year-old Arsenal starlet, who was first called-up to Unai Emery's first-team last season, scored his first senior goal and set up the other two as the Gunners destroyed Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 in Germany.

And it was a performance in waiting for Saka, after he first caught the eye of Michael Owen, working as an analyst for BT Sport when he made his debut against Qarabag.

"Some of the skill... I watched Cristiano Ronaldo doing this the other day for Juventus," the former England man said last December.

"He's just different class and by the end of the game his confidence was oozing."

Since then Saka, who has caught the attention of Bundesliga clubs, has made greater strides in the first team.

READY, FREDDIE, GO

Saka joined the Gunners' Hale End academy nine years before his debut.

And despite his success with Freddie Ljungberg who ran Arsenal's youth set-up, the London-born lad had not been expecting to be called-up by Emery.

Sat among team-mates as Emery listed off his squad for the Qarabag clash, Saka was jolted by the sound of his own name.

"He called out the team and I couldn't believe it," the talented teen said.

"I couldn't stop thinking about today, what I'm gonna do, how I'm going to do, and it turned out alright."

As did Saka, who signed his first contract with Arsenal last September.

His rapid rise hasn't been a surprise for Ljungberg, who told the club's official website: "He's just going to get better and better, keep his head down and keep working."

LION IN WAIT

He has been a regular with England's Under-19s, scoring on his debut against Moldova and bagging a double against the Czech Republic.

And his already sharp shooting ability is being honed even more by working with the first team.

Saka told Arsenal.com: "When we do finishing drills with Lacazette, Aubameyang and Iwobi, you can just see the finishing and the quality that they have.

"I just want to be like them, so every time I'm there I just try to learn from the best, especially in my position because I can take a lot from them."

Saka is emerging from a system with a reputation.

Expectations are lofty when you're following in the footsteps of the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Ashley Cole and Hector Bellerin.

But when you're being compared to Ronaldo, the future is inevitably bright.

Saka has chipped in with two goals and five assists in 15 games in all competitions this season.

Football news:

Milan defender Duarte contracted coronavirus
Real Madrid may pay around 100 million euros for Mbappe if he does not extend his contract with PSG
Flick about the UEFA super Cup: We have to play our best if we want to win the trophy. We are waiting for a difficult match
The Macedonian journalist was upset that he did not have time to talk to Mourinho. Jose returned and promised a photo for the sake of his late father
Fati's compensation increased to 400 million euros. He will play for Barca under number 22
Flick about Goetz: I have been in contact with him a lot since my time with the national team, but Bayern are not thinking about a contract with him
Immobile about Levandovsky: I Am proud that I won against him - he Has always been my idol. I would give him the Golden ball