‘I did not expect this’ – Bukayo Saka named England Player of the Year as Arsenal star beats Tottenham’s Harry Kane and West Ham’s Declan Rice to awar

Arsenal forward Bukayo Saka was stunned as he was handed the England Player of the Year award. The 21-year-old has voted by supporters as the Three Lions’ standout player over the last 12 months. Saka is England’s Player of the Year for the 2021/22 seasonTwitter: @England Saka beat Declan Rice and England’s captain Harry Kane to the gong, with the West Ham midfielder and Tottenham striker coming second and third in the vote, respectively. The young Gunners ace made nine appearances over the international season, managing three goals, while he was named Man of the Match in a 4-0 win over Andorra at Wembley on his birthday last September. The award marks a brilliant spell of form for Saka, who has been Arsenal’s Player of the Season for the last two years, and has also twice been shortlisted for the Kopa Trophy – an honour given to the world’s best players under the age of 21. The youngster also displayed mental fortitude beyond his years as he came back from missing the crucial penalty in England’s Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy, to continue to star for club and country. Saka was surprised with the award ahead of England’s Nations League clash with Italy on Friday – which is LIVE on talkSPORT – with the forward presented with the trophy by a group of young grassroots footballers in a fake press conference set up by the Three Lions’ media team. “No way,” he said when handed the gong. Saka was stunned when he was handed the trophy in a surprise press conferenceTwitter: @England Saka has four goals in 18 caps in an England shirtTwitter: @England “I did not expect this, honestly. I’m honoured. “I’m so happy, I can’t put into words how happy I am. It’s really nice to be awarded this trophy, and that’s all I can really say! “Playing for England is so special, there are so many kids who want to play football for teams and it’s really difficult, so to then get picked to play for your country, it’s another level of honour and pride in yourself. Saka has shot to stardom in the Arsenal and England teams and is a regular starter for both at the age of 21AFP “So I’m just really happy every time I get to come here, pull on the shirt and play at Wembley in front of all the fans. “It’s a beautiful feeling Saka has collected 18 England caps and scored four goals since making his senior debut in a 3-0 win over Wales at Wembley Stadium in October 2020, and becomes the first Arsenal men’s player to land England’s Player of the Year award since its inception in 2003. Tune into talkSPORT for LIVE commentary of Italy vs England in the Nations League, Friday September 23, kick off: 7:45pm Watch the World Cup with talkSPORT At talkSPORT we are powered by fans, so come and join us for the ultimate World Cup fan experience this winter – at the talkSPORT Fan Zone. In a huge indoor venue under the arches at Waterloo in London, we’ll bring you live screenings of every World Cup game. There will be Q&As with talkSPORT talent, you’ll be part of our live broadcasts, and there will be plenty of food and drink on offer too. Come and enjoy the best World Cup fan experience in London – and enjoy a pint on us – with tickets for England and Wales’ group stage games on sale now HERE!