Gareth Southgate explains brilliant first impression Bukayo Saka made on the England squad

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England's preparations to 'bring it home' at this year's European Championships are ramping up with their opening clash against Croatia just over a week away.

Gareth Southgate announced his final 26-man squad this week, including no less than four right-backs in the line-up.

He has since lost Trent Alexander-Arnold to injury but it is the forward-going members of the squad that have most excited the fans.

With Harry Kane leading the line and a supporting cast of the likes of Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Marcus Rashford, England's attack is fierce.

However, it wouldn't be an England squad for a major European tournament without an electric youngster being named among the ranks.

That responsibility has this year fallen to Arsenal's Bukayo Saka, who is already rewarding Southgate's show of faith.

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Saka scored the winner in England's friendly with Austria this week and if Southgate's recent comments are anything to go by, the boss is a big fan of the star, who is rated at £58.5 million on TransferMarkt.

Speaking on an episode of the High Performance Podcast, Southgate outlined the brilliant first impression Saka made on the England squad.

After being asked what makes a good player both on and off the field, Southgate pointe to Saka as a good example.

"High performance, low maintenance is the ideal," he began

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"We can go with high-performance, high-maintenance because I think that’s worth persevering with and working with. Low performance, high maintenance, I’ll be less enthusiastic about.

"So there are levels of what you’re prepared to go with and how do the group see it.

"Again, players recognise, okay, there’s a young player that comes in, so Bukayo comes in from Arsenal, we don’t know him really, we’ve seen him in the junior teams.

"He comes in, he has this incredible humility, he’s a talented player, he fits in with the group, the group are having him, the group think this a boy that, again, they’re assessing in training, okay, here’s another young on they’ve bought in.

"Is he going to be any good? Oh okay. No, he is, he can play and actually he’s a good kid and he does the right things.

"All of those chats over dinner and those meals, the other players are assessing them if their conversation is humble enough and they’re asking about the other players and they’re following the right role models in the group and the other players will be assessing that all of the time, that’s how we’ve worked for generations isn’t it?"

There is no doubting that Saka is one of the most exciting prospects to emerge in recent years and the fact that he is equally humble and teachable can only be seen as a massive bonus.

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