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Ian Wright defends Bukayo Saka amidst controversial media coverage

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has leapt to the defence of Bukayo Saka following the controversial use of Saka’s image to symbolise England’s disappointing defeat to Iceland.

Wright believes that Saka is being unfairly positioned as a scapegoat for England’s potential failures in the upcoming Euro 2024, drawing parallels to the events of Euro 2020 when Saka, along with teammates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, faced abhorrent racist abuse after missing penalties in the final against Italy.

Wright expressed his concerns on X, formerly known as Twitter, urging fans to rally behind Saka and other young players.

He highlighted a perceived deliberate effort by some in the media to set these players up as the fall guys for any shortcomings the team might face in the tournament.

Wright’s post read: “Now more than ever let’s get behind & support these young people. We can all see what’s happening & who’s being set up to be the face of defeat.

We are going to be gas lit with explanations & justifications, but those deciding who goes on the back pages know what they’re doing. Let’s keep our energy focused on giving these players pure love & support throughout the tournament.”

Wright’s comments come at a crucial time as the nation gears up for Euro 2024, where expectations are high for the English team.

The memory of the heart-wrenching final of Euro 2020 remains fresh, where the penalty misses by Saka, Rashford, and Sancho were followed by a torrent of racist abuse, highlighting the dark side of football fandom.

Saka, who has been a standout performer for both Arsenal and the national team, symbolizes the hope and future of English football. However, the pressure and scrutiny he faces are immense, often amplified by the media’s portrayal. Wright’s defense of Saka underscores the need for a supportive and positive environment for these young talents to thrive.

The call to action from Wright is clear: fans and the media alike must focus on uplifting and backing these players rather than allowing them to be unfairly targeted.