Rio Ferdinand says Bukayo Saka will become ‘world-class’ if he performs in the Champions League this season.
The Manchester United legend labelled Bukayo Saka as a ‘tremendous’ player and someone who is in the ‘top five’ right-wingers in the world today.
Fans have seen the performances in the Premier League for Arsenal and for England on the international stage, but next month, Saka will step onto the biggest club stage he has ever been on.
Champions League football returns to the Emirates and Ferdinand says ‘there isn’t any question’ if he performs on that stage, then Saka is ‘world-class’, as he told Vibe with Five.
Already this season, the 21-year-old has two Premier League goals to his name, after scoring 14 and assisting 11 last term.
Even though the Hale-End star is hitting such heights in his career, Ferdinand appreciates the fact that he still has the ‘appetite’ to learn and get to even higher levels.
“I don’t think there are many fullbacks who come off the pitch against Saka and go ‘easy days work’,” said Ferdinand. “He gives a hard days work, week after week and he has been doing that for two years solid.
“I think he is a tremendous footballer. But you can still see that there is an appetite to learn and bring more to the table. I think he is only going to get better. He has to be in the top five right-wingers in the world.
On whether Saka is world-class: “I think he has everything to be a world-class player. The only thing that he hasn’t got on the table where you go ‘that solidifies it or that cements it’ is the Champions League performances and goals, at those definitive moments in those big, big games. They are there now, so he has got a chance.
“He has already done the Premier League. He has shown he can roast man regular. And for England. Then you go Champions League, and he does it there, then there isn’t any question.”
Saka in the Champions League
From Vinicius Jr to Erling Haaland. Many players, around Saka’s age bracket, have cooked on that Champions League stage – and won the competition.
Even his fellow countryman, Jude Bellingham showcased his worth in Europe when he was at Borussia Dortmund and will be hoping to continue it at Real Madrid.
But now Saka will want to write his name amongst those rising stars because he has every bit of quality to do so – club legend, Ray Parlour, expressed how he was delighted that Mikel Arteta managed to keep him at Arsenal.