Euro 2024: Rio Ferdinand Sensationally Suggests Bukayo Saka Should Play as Left-Back vs Denmark

Euro 2024: Rio Ferdinand Sensationally Suggests Bukayo Saka Should Play as Left-Back vs Denmark

Rene Otinga
updated at June 20, 2024 at 10:15 AM
In this article:
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  • Rio Ferdinand recently suggested Bukayo Saka should play as a left-back for England against Denmark on June 20
  • Gareth Southgate has a crisis in defence as Manchester United’s Luke Shaw continues to nurse a muscle injury
  • Saka briefly played at left-back for Arsenal in 2020 to cover for Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac, who had injuries

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Former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, has offered Gareth Southgate a solution to his left-back problems.

The Three Lions boss is in a spot of bother ahead of England’s game against Denmark on Thursday, June 20, after it was confirmed Luke Shaw would miss the match through injury.

Rio Ferdinand, Bukayo Saka, England, left-back, Gareth Southgate.
Rio Ferdinand would love to see Bukayo Saka playing at left-back to fill in for the injured Luke Shaw against Denmark on June 20, 2024. Photo: Chris Brunskill/
Source: Getty Images

Shaw has been struggling to recover from a muscle injury he sustained while at Manchester United in February 2024.

"He's actually on track for where we thought he would be originally," Southgate said on Wednesday.
"We were hoping a couple of days ago we might accelerate that a little bit, but he needs a bit more volume work."

Rio Ferdinand’s solution for England at Euros

While speaking during the latest episode of his Vibe with Five podcast, Ferdinand suggested Southgate should deploy Arsenal’s top scorer for last season, Bukayo Saka, at left-back.

"We would have to put Saka at left-back. I'd play Saka at left-back then I would," he said. "If you ain't got Shaw and you ain't got Trippier, then I would play Saka at left-back."

When Saka broke into Arsenal’s first team in 2018, he started out as a left-back, filling in for Sead Kolasinac.

After impressing Unai Emery at the time, Saka, who was the 18, became a more integral figure in the Gunners squad and was deployed in a more advanced role.

These days, the 22-year-old plays primarily on the right wing, where he has developed an impressive ability to cut in with his left foot before testing the goalkeeper with a shot.

In 2020, Saka admitted that playing at left-back was not his natural position but was happy to be involved in the Arsenal first team.

"It’s not my natural position but he’s given me all the advice I need," Saka said in 2020, per One Football.
"I’m playing sort of as a winger when we have the ball but without the ball, I have to come back and work on my clearances, my heading and stuff I haven’t worked on my whole life. I feel like I’m doing ok right now."

What next for England?

The Three Lions top Group C after their narrow 1-0 win over Serbia in their opening game. Gareth Southgate will be hoping his team has a more dominant performance when they face Denmark on Thursday.

A win for England would be enough to secure a ticket to the last 16 of the competition ahead of their final game against Slovenia on June 25.

Erik ten Hag slams Gareth Southgate

Sports Brief also reported on Erik Ten Hag’s criticism of Gareth Southgate as the Manchester United boss suggested the England manager lacked a vision for his team.

While speaking to Dutch broadcaster, NOS, the United boss claimed the England team was very ‘passive’ and accused Southgate’s charges of allowing Serbia to attack.

Rene Otinga photo
Rene Otinga
Rene Otinga is a sports journalist with over eight years of working experience in digital media. Rene's experience includes working as a Copywriter at X News Kenya and