Bukayo Saka has rejected comparisons between his form at the 2022 World Cup and Kylian Mbappe’s successful campaign four years ago before England meet France.
Saka scored his third World Cup goal as England overcame a nervous start to beat Senegal 3-0 in Sunday’s round of 16 to set up a heavyweight quarter-final clash with Les Bleus.
Having started three of England’s four matches in Qatar from the right, Saka could be expected to help contain Mbappé next time out, which promises to be a tough task after the Paris Saint-Germain star moved to five goals for the tournament in the 3 of his team. -1 victory over Poland.
Mbappé joined Pele as the second teenager to score in a World Cup final in 2018, and Saka does not wish to compare his debut season with that of the Frenchman.
Asked if he could follow in Mbappe’s footsteps by being named young player of the tournament, Saka said: “Thanks for the compliment, but there is only one Kylian Mbappe.
“At the same time, there is only one of me. I just want to be myself and help my team as best I can.
“There are many young players in this tournament, I can name many.
“Also in our team, next to me is another young player who is doing incredibly well, Jude Bellingham. I’m just happy that we are all here and doing well.
“The priority is trying to win the tournament, rather than being the player of the tournament or the young player of the tournament.”
When asked about Bellingham’s performances in England’s midfield, Saka added: “He’s a special player. I really don’t know the words to describe him.
“I just hope he can keep progressing because, for sure, he has a huge, huge future.”
Saka’s previous major tournament campaign ended with him missing the decisive penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy, but the Arsenal winger believes his World Cup performances will somehow helped erase that memory.
“Personally, I feel like I’ve been trying to move on from that point,” Saka said. “I know I can never really forget it, it will be history, but at the same time, coming here and scoring those three goals has relieved me a lot.
“And of course the love from the fans that I keep getting lifts me up a lot as well. It gives me a lot of confidence and I love to see that.”
With the prospect of taking part in another penalty shoot-out if the match against France is close, Saka insisted he would have no qualms about stepping up again.
“I’ve matured and progressed a lot since then – I wouldn’t have increased my appearances for Arsenal if I wasn’t confident,” he said.
“If the time comes and I’m selected to take it, I’ll be more than happy to do so.”