Date: 19th November 2022 at 2:18pm
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England face Iran on Monday in the first Group B match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. 

Gareth Southgate’s side reached the semi-finals four years ago in Russia and were beaten in the final of Euro 2020 last year, but expectations this time around have been slightly deflated by The Three Lions’ poor run of form.

England were unbeaten throughout their World Cup qualification group last year, but didn’t win a single game in their recent Nations League campaign, resulting in their relegation to the second tier of the competition.

Last year, The Three Lions took Italy to penalties in the final of the Euros, before Jadon Sancho, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford all missed spot kicks to give the Italians victory.

Now, one of Saka’s teammates has backed the winger to take another penalty this time around.

As reported by The Mail, Aaron Ramsdale has insisted that his Arsenal teammate would take a penalty if England found themselves in a shootout at the World Cup.

“Absolutely. I think he has realised it was just something that happened to him and he would not shy away — he is that type of person,” the goalkeeper said when asked if Saka would volunteer once again.

“He knows the feeling now and, hopefully, next time he steps up he’ll put the ball in the back of the net.”

Since his missed penalty against Italy, Saka has scored spot kicks against Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool for Arsenal.

Saka was named England Player of the Year

Both Saka and Ramsdale have been in sensational form this season, propelling The Gunners to the summit of the Premier League table.

The winger has scored five goals and provided six assists in 20 matches across all competitions for his club side this season.

Unfortunately, Saka was the subject of vile racial abuse following his miss, but Ramsdale claims that he has used the hate he received as motivation to improve.

“He used all that motivation of criticism. But, also, the love everyone gave him, that gave him an extra boost.”

“Don’t forget he had the pressure of the whole football club on him last year — him and Emile Smith Rowe were our main guys — and he has dealt with that, he’s dealt with everything else.

“He is thriving and I can’t wait to see him thrive over here. There is no doubt that he is a stronger character now, off the pitch and on it.

“He’s a more complete person.”

Since making his England debut in October 2020, Saka has made 20 appearances for the national side, scoring four goals, and he was named England’s Men’s Player of the Year back in September following an impressive run of form.

The 21-year-old will be vying with the likes of Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling for a starting spot at the upcoming World Cup, although his versatility will also be useful.

Saka has previously played at left-back and, with Luke Shaw the only recognised left-back in the 26-man squad, he may be used as cover for the role.

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