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Gareth Southgate hopes for Bukayo Saka "closure" after he scores on Wembley return

Daily Mirror

Gareth Southgate hopes Bukayo Saka's goal on his return to Wembley will help him achieve "closure" after a painful summer.

The Arsenal star missed the decisive penalty as England suffered shootout defeat in the Euro 2020 final.

Saka was later subjected to racist abuse online, but has since received huge support from fans up and down the country.

The forward came off the bench to score England's fourth and final goal in their win over Andorra.

He received a warm reception from the Wembley crowd and Southgate hopes his strike can help him draw a line under his difficult experience.

The England boss said: "I hope closure if needed, but I don’t think there’s a player in that dressing room who thinks anything other than positive about him or what he did all summer.
Bukayo Saka scored England's fourth goal ( Image: Getty Images)

"He got a fabulous reception before the game, during the game and it’s lovely because you can see how popular he is with the rest of the team as well."

Saka's strike came as he celebrated his 20th birthday.

He was keen to pay tribute to the Wembley crowd, who he thanks for spurring him on.

"I’m really happy with the reception everyone gave me," Saka said.

"It really shows how proud they are of me and I think that meant a lot for me and made me want to give my all and obviously I’m happy that we got the win.

"I think it means a lot, it really made a difference for me [the reception], only just now I can hear so many fans cheering my name so it means everything to me and shows that everyone supports me through thick and thin so it’s nice."

England scored three second-half goals to maintain their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying.

Andorra, much like Hungary in midweek, made thing difficult for the Three Lions before the floodgates opened late on.
The England star was appearing at Wembley for the first time since the Euro 2020 final ( Image: Pool via REUTERS)

Southgate said: "It’s difficult for the team that we picked, they haven’t had that many games together and play against a team who know how to frustrate and all the goals in their matches come late.

"You have to move the ball, be patient, it wasn’t an easy task in the game especially in the latter stages."

England's next assignment is a tough trip to Warsaw to take on Poland.

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