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World Cup 2022: England’s Bukayo Saka ‘more than happy’ to take penalty against France

Host nation: Qatar Dates: 20 November-18 December Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Day-by-day TV listingsFull coverage details

England winger Bukayo Saka says he would be “more than happy” if he is required to take a penalty against France in the World Cup quarter-final.

Saka was one of three players to miss a spot-kick in England‘s Euros final defeat by Italy last year.

He was subjected to online racist abuse following the final at Wembley, but he says “love from the fans” has helped him regain his confidence.

“Personally I’ve tried to move on from that moment,” said Saka.

“Obviously I know I can never really forget about that – it’s there in history.

“But at the same time coming out here and scoring those three goals, of course, lifted me a lot – and the love from the fans that I keep receiving has lifted me a lot as well and gives me a lot of confidence.

“I have matured and progressed a lot since that moment. I wouldn’t have stepped up the number of times I have for Arsenal if I was not confident.

“If the moment comes and I am selected to take it, I will be more than happy to.”

Saka, 21, says England have nothing to fear when they face the World Cup holders on Saturday.

“There’s a lot of tournament experience [in the squad] now,” said Saka.

“If you look at the results from the last few tournaments we’ve been in, we’ve got to a semi-final, a final and a quarter-final.

“So when the big games come we have a lot of players who know what they need to do.”

Kylian Mbappe is the top goalscorer at this World Cup with five, while Saka is joint second with three.

Asked if he could be the breakout star of Qatar 2022, as Mbappe was four years ago in Russia, Saka said: “Thank you for the compliment, but no.

“There’s only one Kylian Mbappe, but at the same time there’s only one me. I just want to be myself and help my team in the best way I can.

“There’s so many young players in this tournament and I can name so many, even in my own team – there’s another young player alongside us doing unbelievably well in Jude Bellingham.

“I’m just happy that we’re all here, all doing well and the priority is to try to win the tournament rather than be the Player of the Tournament or Young Player of the Tournament.”

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