Arsenal and England attacker Bukayo Saka has said that he will remember his first career hat-trick in the Three Lions’ 7-0 thrashing of Macedonia for the rest of his life.

Despite coming off after just 45 minutes of Friday’s 4-0 win over Malta due to an injury scare, Saka was passed fit to start at Old Trafford in a fearsome front three with Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford for their Euro 2024 qualifying Group C clash.

The 21-year-old had previously only ever scored one brace for England in their opening World Cup 2022 win over Iran, and he is yet to take home a match ball from a senior Arsenal match.

However, Saka needed less than an hour to make the net ripple three times against the beleaguered North Macedonians, completing his maiden hat-trick with just 51 minutes on the clock before coming off to rapturous applause from fans and teammates.

In doing so, Saka became the first Arsenal player since Theo Walcott against Croatia in 2008 to score an England hat-trick, and he plans on framing his match ball after a few days of keeping it under his arm.

“I will remember this for the rest of my life. It’s a special night, big win and my first hat-trick, it’s really special,” Saka told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I will probably frame the match ball but probably hold it in my arms for a few days first.”

“I don’t remember the last time I scored three even at junior levels. It is a decent scoring record (11 goals in 28 England games) but there is always room for improvement. After this game, it is time for holidays now.”

Saka drilled home his first goal of the evening into the roof of the net with 38 minutes gone, before doubling his tally with a brilliant half-volley into the top corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s pass.

The 21-year-old’s second came just two minutes after the restart, and he needed just another four minutes to complete his hat-trick, charging through the middle of a muddled North Macedonia backline to latch onto Kane’s pass and slot home.

The build-up to Saka’s second goal was a carbon copy of the Three Lions’ opener against Malta, where Alexander-Arnold – thriving in a midfield role – sent a pinpoint long pass over the top for Saka to chase and force an own goal from Ferdinando Apap.

This time around, Saka completed the job himself from Alexander-Arnold’s exquisite pass, and he revealed that the pair had discussed that particular pattern of play at half time before executing it mere minutes later.

When asked to pick out his favourite goal of the evening by Channel 4, Saka responded: “I like the first one but I’ll go for the second goal. Volley outside the box, top corner.

“He [Alexander-Arnold] is a top player. At half time he said to me he was going to do that pass. When I scored I was looking for him to thank him. I didn’t have to break my stride.”

Kane (2), Kalvin Phillips and Rashford also made the net ripple in a crushing win for England, who remain top of Group C with 12 points from four games, six clear of second-placed Ukraine.



About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *