Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka laughs at question and has blunt Rio Ferdinand reply | Football | Sport

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Arsenal star man Bukayo Saka laughed and simply replied “no comment” when his goal in the Gunners’ 4-1 win over Newcastle was described as “world-class” in a direct response to Rio Ferdinand. The Manchester United icon previously insisted that Saka was not at that level, but the England winger showcased why he is considered among the world’s elite with another goal and superb performance against Eddie Howe’s outfit.

Saka has been in scintillating form this season with 16 goals and 13 assists in 33 appearances, but Ferdinand refused to give the 22-year-old a “world-class” label and instead named 12 rivals he would place ahead of the Gunners star.

“Not yet,” he told Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE. “Listen, I think Saka’s been unreal. I actually think he needs a bit of a rest, so many games for a young kid. “But I think, it’s almost like what is world-class? He hasn’t done it in the Champions League, has he? I’m talking in the nitty-gritty stages. Saka’s top, don’t get me wrong. He’s not world-class yet.”

Ferdinand then went on to claim that Ederson, Kyle Walker, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne, Erling Haaland, Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Jr, Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe as the only footballers he considers worthy of such a tag.

Ferdinand’s suggestion caused Arsenal fans to bombard him with chants of “Saka’s world-class” on the pundit’s flight to Portugal for the Gunners’ Champions League defeat to Porto, and Saka has now given his take on the opinion in the aftermath of his side’s dominant victory over Newcastle.

After TNT Sports host Jules Breach told Saka that his goal was “world-class” in a nod to Ferdinand, Saka laughed and then replied: “No comment. I am happy with another goal today and more importantly happy to win.

“I am working hard every day and giving my best. Obviously I have great teammates giving me good passes which helps as well. We have been working hard and there is a lot of quality going forward and it is starting to click now – we just need to continue with this [form].”

But Ferdinand doubled down on his view in Portugal. “I think the thing that lets him not be on that list, for me right now, is just time,” he explained. “He will be there – he’s in world-class form. You just need that time – and that’s where I see Saka.

“Saka’s got that world-class potential, he just hasn’t been exposed to the knockout stages of the Champions League – the longevity is the difference. If you look at that list, you can see they’ve played in the top, most prestigious games and they’ve produced in those moments. And they’ve all done ridiculous things over a long period of time.”

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