Saka’s first international goal secures England win | Daily News

Saka’s first international goal secures England win

Bukayo Saka of England battles for possession with Michael Gregorltsch of Austria.
Bukayo Saka of England battles for possession with Michael Gregorltsch of Austria.

England’s countdown to the Euros continued with a narrow win over Austria on Wednesday at Riverside Stadium - but they suffered an injury setback as Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold limped off late on.

Manager Gareth Southgate saw his experimental side secure victory when Arsenal teenager Bukayo Saka crowned a fine move with an angled finish for his first international goal after 56 minutes.

Southgate, who named his 26-man squad for the Euros on Tuesday, picked a side with an unfamiliar look as players involved with Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City in the Europa League and Champions League finals were not selected, so he will be happy to come out with a win - but it was not a convincing display.

England survived scares when Everton defender Ben Godfrey, making his debut as a substitute, sent keeper Jordan Pickford scrambling to retrieve a wayward back-pass, while the keeper touched Marcel Sabitzer’s shot onto the bar.

And as Alexander-Arnold walked gingerly around the pitch with the England medical staff, debutant Ben White cleared off the line from Alessandro Schopf after Pickford’s punch fell to him in the area.

The victory means England have won their past seven friendly matches, their best run in friendlies since winning seven-in-a-row under Sir Bobby Robson between June 1985 and May 1986.

Alexander-Arnold’s selection for the Euros was the big debating point in the build-up to the squad announcement, with Southgate ultimately deciding he was simply too big a talent to leave out.

And that talent was on display at the Riverside in both a defensive and attacking context, before the worrying sight of the 22-year-old moving gingerly around the perimeter of the pitch in the dying seconds, accompanied by England medical staff with his shirt pulled over his head in disappointment.

It marked a night when England got the win against Austria, albeit with a less than impressive performance which was perhaps to be expected with a much-changed side forced on Southgate by those many absentees, which saw him select Jesse Lingard even though he is not in the Euros Squad. (BBC)