Anton Ferdinand aims bizarre dig at Bukayo Saka after Kobbie Mainoo comparison | Football

Ferdinand says Mainoo has achieved something Saka never managed (Picture: Getty)

Anton Ferdinand has claimed Arsenal star Bukayo Saka was not reaching the same heights of Kobbie Mainoo after breaking into the Gunners side at the same age.

The Manchester United midfielder has enjoyed a meteoric rise since making his senior debut last November, becoming a key player under Erik ten Hag.

He was rewarded with an England call-up last week, making his debut off the bench against Brazil on Saturday before starting and winning the man of the match award against Belgium on Tuesday.

Mainoo is now being tipped to secure a place in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 squad having emerged as one of the country’s brightest young talents.

Former Premier League defender Ferdinand hailed Mainoo as a ‘generational talent’ during the latest episode of The Take On, insisting no other player has accomplished what he has ‘in a long, long time’.

Ferdinand included Saka in that argument, questioning what the Gunners star had accomplished at the same age as Mainoo.

‘Kobbie Mainoo is an unbelievable talent. A generational talent, 100 per cent,’ Ferdinand said. ‘Not just on the ball but the way he is on the pitch.

Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo

Mainoo shone on his full England debut (Picture: Getty)

‘To go from the Under-18s straight to the first team and look like he’s been there for years tells you everything about the kid. He has done that at United.

‘What we are seeing right now is something we haven’t seen in a long, long time. People talk about Saka. Saka weren’t doing this in my opinion. He weren’t doing this at 18. It is the truth. What was he doing?’

Ferdinand’s comments were questioned by his co-stars with broadcaster Abbi Summers commenting: ‘I think he was doing it.’

Ferdinand responded: ‘But he was inconsistent. Kobbie Mainoo is not inconsistent.’

Saka made his Arsenal debut during the 2018-19 season at 17 years old, making four appearances before forcing his way into the side the following campaign.

Saka shone throughout the 2019-20 season, finishing with 12 assists and four goals in 39 appearances.

In the 2020-21 campaign, Saka was named Arsenal’s Player of the Season at 19, also nominated for the Premier League Young Player of the Season. He was named in England’s Euro 2020 squad that summer.


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