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Revealed: How Arsenal legend Thierry Henry transformed Saka's life after Euro 2020 final penalty miss

Ahead of England's quarter-finals clash against France at the Qatar World Cup 2022, Bukayo Saka has revealed how Arsenal and French legend Thierry Henry has helped him since the youngster's heartbreaking penalty miss at the Euro 2020 final.

football qatar world cup 2022 Revealed: How Arsenal legend Thierry Henry transformed Saka's life after Euro 2020 final penalty miss snt
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First Published Dec 6, 2022, 6:21 PM IST

Since the heartbreaking penalty miss in the Euro 2020 final against Italy, life has changed for England star Bukayo Saka. The 21-year-old is a mainstay in Mikel Arteta's Arsenal team, and now at the Qatar World Cup 2022, Saka is shining for the Three Lions. Ahead of their clash against France in the quarter-finals, Saka has revealed how Arsenal and French icon Thierry Henry has been instrumental in transforming his life since the shocking night of 2020.

The Three Lions' hopes of winning a major trophy for the first time in 55 years were dashed when Saka missed the game-winning kick against Italy, but he instantly gained praise by exercising incredible bravery to take a penalty at the age of 19.

Also read: 'Naive to focus purely on Mbappe', warns Luke Shaw ahead of England vs France World Cup 2022 quarter-finals

The Arsenal winger quickly moved past his setback and had a fantastic 2021/22 season. Saka, who has three goals to his name after scoring the decisive goal in Sunday's 3-0 victory against Senegal in the round of 16, has also been in excellent form for England throughout the World Cup.

Though Saka hopes England kick defending champions France out of the Qatar World Cup 2022 at the quarter-final stage, he has no qualms in revealing the kindness shown to him by Arsenal's record goalscorer and French icon Thierry Henry and how he has helped Saka grow in the last two years.

"Thierry was in touch. It meant everything. He's shown a lot of his character to get my number and to reach out to me. "It's not just from that moment. After most Arsenal games, he reaches out to me and he's still so passionate about the club and he's an amazing person," Saka revealed.

"I know how much my dad loves him and how much everyone at the club loves him and I know what he did for the club, of course. Thierry and Robert Pires have been around the club and spoken to me and helped me and they have supported me to this day, so I'm grateful to them. Of course, on the pitch, they delivered and they were magnificent and they delivered silverware for Arsenal, so they will be legends, always," the Englishman added.

In addition, Saka downplayed comparisons to Kylian Mbappe's World Cup performance in 2018 and discussed his willingness to take another penalty for England.

"First of all, thank you for the compliment … but no. There is only one Kylian Mbappe – and at the same time, there is only one me," Saka remarked. 

Also read: England fans praise Saka for laughing off comparisons with Mbappe ahead of World Cup 2022 clash against France

"I have progressed and matured as a player and a person since that moment [at Wembley]. I would not have stepped up the times I have stepped up for Arsenal with penalties if I was not confident, so if the moment comes and if I am set to take it, I will be more than happy to," he concluded.

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