GOAL correspondent Charles Watts has questioned Arsenal star Bukayo Saka’s ranking on the 2022 Kopa Trophy list.
The Gunners and England sensation could only finish eighth on the list for the world’s best U21 player during the Ballon d’Or ceremony, with Barcelona midfielder Gavi triumphing.
Many supporters have been left grumbling by the decision, including Watts, who could not understand the low ranking for such a talented individual.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the journalist criticised the “strange” decision, with Saka cementing his status as an important figure for club and country across the past few years.
“I don’t get Bukayo Saka. He finished eighth in the Kopa trophy. And you look at that and I just think it’s very hard to justify Bukayo Saka finishing eighth in that.
“I know it’s basically a popularity contest and I do feel like people playing in the Premier League get a bit hard done by when it comes to these award ceremonies.
“If Saka is in the Real Madrid or Barcelona team, believe me, he’s finishing higher than eighth – put it that way. I mean, it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
“Saka has been doing it in the Premier League, the hardest league in the world. You look at his numbers, his goal contributions, he started every single game. He helped England to the Euros final – I know that was the summer before – but still, I’m just not sure you can really justify Bukayo Saka finishing eighth.”
Our thoughts on Watts’ Saka comments…
Saka, who England manager Gareth Southgate labelled “a fantastic talent”, has been an integral cog in the Arsenal machine this year, emerging at the fore of Europe’s most coveted talents.
It’s largely unsurprising that Watts is somewhat incredulous over Saka’s lowly ranking in this year’s Kopa Trophy.
The 20-cap England international is a tremendous talent, already shaping into a menacing offensive figure with a variety of ways to hurt the opposition’s defence.
Playing in every club fixture this season, the £63m-rated starlet has contributed five goals and four assists from 15 appearances, with Sofascore rating him Arsenal’s second-best midfielder this season, behind only Granit Xhaka, who has made a remarkable start to the campaign.
Incredibly, the 21-year-old phenom ranks within the top 10% for every attacking statistic FBref has to offer this season, compared to positional peers in Europe’s big five leagues over the last year, such as the top 6% for non-penalty goals and the top 4% for shot-creating actions.
The site also states the versatile England winger ranks in the top 3% for progressive passes completed per 90; Saka’s game wields a bow with many strings. He is every bit the ‘starboy’ so many Arsenal fans proclaim him to be, and he is flourishing in a team with boundless potential.