Conor Gallagher backs Bukayo Saka to get even better for England

Conor Gallagher backs Bukayo Saka to get even better for England

Conor Gallagher rose up through the international ranks alongside Bukayo Saka and has backed England’s latest hat-trick hero to get even better.

Saka took home the match ball after hitting three in Monday’s 7-0 thrashing of North Macedonia at Old Trafford on Monday night, a result which leaves England on the cusp of securing Euro 2024 qualification.

The 21-year-old’s second strike was the pick of the bunch as a brace for captain Harry Kane, a Marcus Rashford finish and Kalvin Phillips’ first England goal wrapped up a fine win in the last game of a long season.

England’s Conor Gallagher, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale inspect the pitch before the World Cup qualifying match in San Marino in November 2021
England’s Conor Gallagher, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Bukayo Saka and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale inspect the pitch before the World Cup qualifying match in San Marino in November 2021 (Nick Potts/PA)

It was a campaign which also saw Saka score three goals at the World Cup, with the progression of the Arsenal ace coming as no shock to Gallagher.

“I played with Bukayo since, I think, the Under-19s,” the Chelsea midfielder said.

“Even then you could see that he would become a top player and to see how he has progressed until now has been amazing and I am sure he is going to get even better.

“He is a special player and to get a hat-trick was amazing for him. He had an amazing performance. He is right up there (with the best) and he is only getting better.

Bukayo Saka with the match ball after his hat-trick against North Macedonia on Monday
Bukayo Saka with the match ball after his hat-trick against North Macedonia on Monday (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I think he is a very exciting talent with an exciting future and we are looking forward to seeing where it takes him.”

While Saka flourished over the course of a season in which he starred for club and country, Gallagher endured a difficult year at Stamford Bridge.

The 23-year-old featured in all-but three of Chelsea’s Premier League games but it was a season to forget for the Blues as they finished a lowly 12th.

Gallagher – who has been linked with a move away with the likes of Brighton reportedly interested – insists he is looking forward to working under new Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino and retaining his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.

Conor Gallagher and Chelsea struggled at times last season
Conor Gallagher and Chelsea struggled at times last season (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I love Chelsea,” he added. “It has been a tough season for me and the whole team so I think we will just be working hard to get us back to where we belong.

“I am always grateful to be here and for Gareth to have that trust in me despite it being a tough season for both me and Chelsea. I am really happy he has shown that trust in me still and I
think he knows I will work as hard as I can no matter what to give my best.

“I just need to keep working hard and get a bit of my confidence back in a way, I didn’t lose it but I need to get a rhythm of playing more games, score more goals and I am trying to reach that stage.

“(Pochettino) is a top manager, everyone at Chelsea is happy he’s here and we’re looking forward to working with him.”