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John Barnes warns Bukyao Saka may not feature much for England at World Cup in Qatar

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John Barnes has warned that Arsenal star Bukayo Saka may not feature much for England at the World Cup in Qatar.

Saka played an important role at England’s last major tournament, helping the Three Lions reach the Euro 2020 final and was named Man of the Match following the group stage win over the Czech Republic.

The 21-year-old winger has also impressed in the Premier League for Arsenal this season, registering four goals and six assists across his opening 14 games with the Gunners top of the table and five points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

But with the domestic season on pause for the World Cup, all eyes now turn to Qatar and Saka will be hoping to start England’s opener against Iran on Monday.

Liverpool legend Barnes, though, did not name the Arsenal star when asked how Gareth Southgate could fit Saka in the team with the likes of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish and James Maddison also in the squad.

‘If you look at Maddison for example, if you’re going to play three up front you’d probably look to play Foden and Sterling wide with (Harry) Kane down the middle,’ Barnes told BonusCodeBets.

‘Would you play Maddison in behind? That’s very attacking. Which would mean you wouldn’t be as strong defensively.

‘If you play one up front, with three midfield players then you can play Maddison because that’s the way Leicester play. Leicester play with him off the front man in a free role.

‘If you’re going to play four in the middle then you play Grealish wide and he comes in off the line. It really depends on how he (Southgate) wants to play.

‘If he wants to play 3-4-3, whether it’s 4-3-3 or 4-4-2 and that will determine who he plays.’

Aaron Ramsdale, meanwhile, has backed Arsenal and England team-mate Saka to step up and take a penalty if required in Qatar, despite his miss in the Euro 2020 final.


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