Bukayo Saka may have played a role in persuading Arsenal’s marquee summer signing, Declan Rice, to join them.
The former West Ham captain and England midfielder moved to the Emirates in a deal worth £105million this summer, a record fee for a British player.
Rice became Arsenal’s record signing in JulyGetty
Saka’s advice may have helped persuade him to make the movetalkSPORT
And Gunners fans may owe their ‘star boy’ some gratitude for his role in the transfer materialising having put in a good word for the club when Rice was mulling over his next move.
“Obviously he’d ask a few questions and I’d answer them, but yeah, I’d just try to give him the reassurance that he’d be coming to the right club and that the future is exciting for us,” Saka told talkSPORT.
“If he joined us, he’d make us better and that yeah, we can definitely achieve things.”
Rice swung Arsenal’s tight triumph against Manchester United in the Gunners’ favour at the death on Sunday, scoring from the edge of the box to put them 2-1 up before Gabriel Jesus netted too to seal a 3-1 win.
As the Emirates faithful went wild in celebration, ‘Ice, ice, baby’ was blasted out over the speakers, of course making reference to their summer signing.
It was a moment that would have given even neutral fans goosebumps, and Saka says he was also mesmerised by just how electric the stadium was after the last-ditch goals.
“That was amazing, I think I’ve watched his goal back 20 times,” Saka laughed. “It was an unbelievable moment for him and his family. Even the stadium, he said it was crazy when he felt the atmosphere.
“He’s right though, it’s really special to play there. I’m just happy he’s happy and that he’s performing, and he’s got his first goal as well, I don’t think there’s a better moment for him to get his first goal. So yeah, I’m happy for him.”
The pair won the Community Shield together last monthGetty
Now they’ll be hoping to achieve glory for club and country togetherRex
Aside from working together to get Arsenal a first league title in 20 years, Saka and the new Gunners midfielder also featured at Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup together.
This will be the first time Rice will represent England as a Gunners player, with teammates Saka, Eddie Nketiah and Aaron Ramsdale joining them too.
The Three Lions first face Ukraine on Saturday in the Euro 2024 qualifiers and then Scotland in a friendly on September 12, with both games live on talkSPORT.
However, the focus will mostly be on how England look in the build-up to Euro 2024 – and it’s safe to say Saka has set high expectations for himself as he looks to add to his 28 caps.
“I just want to win everything with England,” he said. “It’s pretty much that simple.”
When asked if the current Three Lions squad is the right team to do that with, with just four England camps to go until the next major tournament, he said: “Yeah, it’s pretty quick, it’s literally next summer!
“So yeah, we’re training, got loads of games ahead to keep learning, keep growing as a team and yeah, increase our confidence going into the tournament.”
Listen to full commentary of Ukraine vs England live on talkSPORT, kick-off 5pm.