Former Arsenal man Ozil reserves special praise for England star as Gullit slams Southgate decision

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Mesut Ozil has heaped praise on Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka for his performance as England lost 2-1 to France in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Harry Kane scored one penalty before missing another as the Three Lions failed to stage a comeback against Les Bleus.

A brilliant long-range effort from Aurelien Tchouameni and an Olivier Giroud header came either side of Kane’s converted penalty as the defending world champions face Morocco in the semi-finals.

Saka, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden were some of the younger players to star for England at the World Cup despite their disappointing exit on Saturday.

And former Arsenal playmaker Ozil was impressed by England’s performance against France and picked out Saka as the “future” of their side.

Ozil wrote on Twitter: “You don’t need to feel ashamed Team England. A strong performance against the current World Champion, good defending against Mbappe & Co., but France very effective as always.

“Great game from my brother @BukayoSaka87 – the future belongs to you.”

And Netherlands legend Ruud Gullit thought England boss Gareth Southgate made a mistake by taking him off with 11 minutes to go.

Gullit said: “Saka was the only one who was really, really good. Why did you take him off?

“I don’t think he (Sterling) is near what he was a couple of seasons ago. Therefore, why would you do that? And he didn’t do anything (when he came on).”

Jude Bellingham was seen going up to Kane as soon as he’d missed a penalty towards the end of the match and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has revealed what he told the England captain.

Bellingham said: “As the leader of the team – which he is with the media, on the pitch and off the pitch – I felt it was important that I just kept him in the game mentally.

“For me, I can’t thank him enough for how much he’s integrated me into the team.

“I’ve seen him deliver time and time again since I’ve been in the England set-up and on this occasion, he didn’t score but I think that he’s done more than enough for this team and his country.

“In that moment, I just wanted to remind him that he can still win us this game.

“It wasn’t to be in the end, but for me there’s no feeling towards the captain that’s negative after all he’s done for this country.”

READ MORE: The Mailbox is divided over whether England should sack Southgate, while Maguire is to blame, not Kane


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