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Ian Wright hits out at ‘crazy and ludicrous’ criticism of Bukayo Saka

Ian Wright's GQ cover shoot
Ian Wright is on the cover of GQ's 'Heroes' issue - GQ magazine

Ian Wright has said the criticism of Bukayo Saka is “crazy” and “ludicrous”, as he questioned those who say the England winger is not world class.

Saka, who scored 20 goals and registered 14 assists for Arsenal last season, is often criticised on social media despite his development into one of Europe’s most effective forwards.

Wright, the former Arsenal and England striker, is a regular defender of Saka and has responded to the player’s critics in an interview with GQ.

“People are talking about him in a way that’s like, ‘It’s done for him, he’s this, he’s that, he’s not world class.’ It’s crazy and it’s ludicrous what we’re expecting these guys to have to deal with,” said Wright.

“[That’s why] you bring [current players] back to the core of why they’re playing and take them to a place when they were younger and they done it for love. Because that supersedes everything.”

The publication of the interview comes after Wright posted on social media in response to Saka’s image being used by a number of publications, including Telegraph Sport, following England’s defeat by Iceland on Friday.

“Now more than ever let’s get behind and support these young people,” said Wright. “We can all see what’s happening and who’s being set up to be the face of defeat.”

On Monday, anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out told the media to “remember its responsibilities” amid the furore over the Saka pictures.

Bukayo Saka of England during the international friendly match between England and Iceland at Wembley Stadium on June 7, 2024 in London, England
Kick It Out responded after many media outlets led with pictures of Saka in the wake of England's defeat to Iceland - Getty Images/Rob Newell

Wright announced last year that the 2023/24 season would be his last as a pundit on Match of the Day, and he told GQ that his time on the show has “run its course”.

“It’s time, Match of the Day is so iconic, so it’s a tough one,” he said. “But, for me, it’s just run its course. I’m done.

“You might see me pop up on MNF [Monday Night Football] but I’m not leaving to go to Sky. I’ve got something to offer but, at the same time, it’s got to be on my own terms.”

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