Bukayo Saka has thanked England captain Harry Kane for helping him to settle in the national team set-up.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been rewarded for his impressive performances for Arsenal, with Gareth Southgate calling him up for the upcoming friendly against Republic of Ireland and the Nations League double header against Belgium and Iceland.
Saka, who made his senior England debut last month against Wales, has now revealed that Tottenham striker and Three Lions skipper Kane was instrumental in helping him to feel at home after joining the squad for the first time.
“All the boys have been so good with me from the first minute I came in,” Saka said in a press conference.
“Harry Kane put his arm around me, he spoke to me and asked me how I was. For him to do that, it helped me settle in much quicker and made me feel comfortable to be myself around everyone.
“That helps me not just off the pitch but also on the pitch too, because I feel like I can be myself, express myself and play with the confidence that I play with back at my club.”
England boss Southgate previously admitted he is excited by Saka’s potential at international level, hailing his versatility.
“I’ve loved getting to know Bukayo this week, a really charming personality you can really see how excited he is by everything,” Southgate said during the last international break.
“Also he is an exciting player, we know he can play four or five different positions already.
“He’s done that for Arsenal – wide left, wide right, wing back, left back.
“I think out and out left back at this level would be a little bit more difficult, but any of those advanced positions he is more than capable.”
Saka previously explained why he rejected the chance to play for Nigeria and chose England, despite qualifying through his parents.
“I feel like I’m really, really proud of my Nigerian heritage,” Saka told Sky Sports.
“I always still watch Nigeria’s games where I can and I wish them all the best and support them all the way.
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“But I’ve seen the process of how England are transforming and I think in the future they’re going to do great stuff. I feel like it was right for me to choose England.
“My dad was born here, my mum was born in Nigeria, but they both grew up in Nigeria and met each other in Nigeria. They came over and when they came to England it wasn’t easy for them because obviously it’s a new country. It’s really cold for them!
“But they adapted well, and as soon as they had me and my brother they always left everything out the way and put us first.
“Especially my football career, my dad always pushed me, he took me to training on days where sometimes it would take two hours to get to training, so I’ll always be so grateful for my parents for the work they’ve done for me.”