Bukayo Saka, England’s wonderkid, was destined for greatness, as this fantastic photo of him as an 11-year-old ace shows.
In 2013, the future Arsenal player was shown with his triumphant elementary school teammates.
Saka’s brilliant performance against the Czech Republic on Tuesday dazzled fans and critics alike.
And his deft counterattack set up Jack Grealish to chip in a cross for Raheem Sterling’s winning goal.
The 19-year-old is deserving of a spot in Tuesday’s squad to face Germany in the Euro final 16.
Millions will cheer him on, including Beverly Curzon, the coach who first recognized his promise.
She said: “He’s not just an England player, he really is a lovely boy.”
Skillful Saka took Edward Betham Primary School, in Greenford, West London, to victory in the Ealing Peal Shield for two years on the trot.
He was so good that the school retired the No.10 shirt, which had previously been worn by his brother Yomi and cousins Folu and Tunde.
“When he came to the juniors, we noticed his skill, but he was too young to be on the football team,” said teaching assistant Bev.
“I sorted the football team out and I asked Yomi if he knew any players and he said, ‘My brother’.
“Yomi was very good in his own right, but we had a little look at Bukayo and he was very good.
“He was a cut above the rest. Bukayo was about seven and he was playing with 11 year olds. When he was playing in year seven or eight he was being scouted for Arsenal.”
The player is photographed with Teaching Assistant Beverly Curzon (left) and instructor Isabelle Macdonald-Brown (right) on a visit to his old school.
Saka went to Arsenal from Ealing, West London, after signing a contract, although he still lives with his parents in a six-bedroom property he purchased in 2019 for £2.3 million.
His Nigerian parents, Adenike and Yomi, immigrated to the United Kingdom in the 1990s to provide a better life for their children.
Saka gave an Arsenal shirt to his old school, which has a scrapbook of his matches.
Head-teacher Caroline Chamberlain, who was Saka’s class teacher in year two, said: “He was so lovely, very hardworking, always did his best. He was very responsible and showed a lot of care and consideration for others.
“The thing about Bukayo is that he deserves everything he got. Nothing was ever too much for him, he was never big-headed, he was very grounded.
“For me, that’s what makes it all the more brilliant. He came to visit the school in June 2019 and the children still talk about that visit. It had such an impact.
The footballer with the Heineken “Star of the Match” award after the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group D match between Czech Republic and England (
“He was still saying, ‘Hello miss’. Fame has not changed him. He’s still the wonderful, respectful young man he always was. He went round to every classroom – he was very inspirational.
“Every time he steps out on the pitch for England we’re all buzzing. We just want him to keep going.
“When the youngest cousin, Tunde, left the school Bev got ‘Saka’ printed on the No.10 shirt that they all wore and that has been retired from the school kit. We’re still using the kit that Bukayo wore when he was here. We’ll never tire of saying how proud we are of Bukayo.”
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As pubs prepare for Tuesday’s game, industry executives predict up to eight million pints will be sold.
However, they estimate that this will be 1.3 million fewer than if the game was shown in boozers without Covid limitations.
British Beer and Pub Association chief Emma McClarkin said: “Many pubs haven’t experienced the boost to their trade which they’d hoped for from the Euros. To secure our pubs for future tournaments and national occasions, there can be no further delays to lifting restrictions.
She said: “We’re counting down the days to freedom for pubs.”