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Bukayo Saka Has Been Named PFA Fans’ Player Of The Month For March

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The 20-year-old had a sensational month scoring himself and assisting Martin Odegaard in the 3-2 victory over Watford, before scoring the crucial goal in a tense 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park.

The England international has enjoyed a terrific season after experiencing the heartbreak of missing the decisive penalty in the EURO 2020 final against Italy and has gained plenty of praise from manager Mikel Arteta. “I think Bukayo had an experience in the summer that not a lot of players would ever have and I think it was great for his career because the football world showed how much they like him and how much they respect him,” the Spaniard said.

“That’s another thing you get much more than that in football apart from winning trophies, so I think that was a big boost for him to realise in difficult moments that people are going to give him support and the club did exactly the same as his team mates.”

The award is made all the more special by the fact that he beat off competition from several big names to secure it. Brentford’s Ivan Toney was in the running, while Chelsea star Kai Havertz and Tottenham striker Harry Kane were both shortlisted after impressive months of their own.

March was not without its controversies for Saka though. After being forced off due to an ankle injury that he sustained following a tackle with Tyrone Mings during the win over Aston Villa, the Hale Ender revealed that he spoke to referee Andy Madley about getting more protection from such hefty challenges.

“I wasn’t obviously complaining,” Saka said after the game. “But I just wanted to let him (the referee) know that that’s my game. I’m going to run at players and sometimes I need a bit more protection when players are purposefully trying to kick me. So that’s what I was letting them know.”

This prompted an angry reaction from Villa boss Steven Gerrard, who stated that he felt Saka had no right to complain. “It’s part of the game,” the former Liverpool midfielder said. “The last time I checked it’s not a no-contact sport. I think tackles are allowed, physicality’s allowed.

“He’s a good player, he’s an outstanding talent and I love him. But he can’t complain about that side. That’s football. I’m sitting here now with screws in my hips, I’ve had about 16 operations, and I’m struggling to go to the gym at the moment. That’s all on the back of earning a living in English football. He’ll learn and he’ll learn quick.”

As his impressive form continues Arsenal are intent on tying Saka down to a longer-term contract at the Emirates. The Hale Ender currently has one year left on his deal, although the Gunners have the option to trigger a one-year extension. football.london understands that conversations are expected to take place over a renewal this summer.

“It is a conversation we are going to have with the player, then his agent, his family — [talks] which are going to be extremely important as well so everybody is on board,” said Arteta in February.

“Obviously, our desire is to keep Bukayo as long as possible, because we are really happy. He is part of our club, our DNA, he is growing, he is maturing. His importance in the team is unquestionable and we want to keep our best talent, that’s for sure.”

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Rhys Norrington-Davies underlines Sheffield United togetherness with passionate message

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Sheffield United wing-back, Rhys Norrington-Davies, has insisted that the Blades will win, lose and draw together after their play-off campaign came to a dramatic end last night. 

Paul Heckingbottom’s side were trailing 2-1 heading into the second leg at the City Ground and conceded early to Brennan Johnson.

However, an impressive second-half comeback saw Sheffield United take the tie to extra time thanks to goals from Morgan Gibbs-White and John Fleck.

Iliman Ndiaye almost won things in extra time, but instead the tie was settled on penalties, with Brice Samba saving from Oliver Norwood, Conor Hourihane and Gibbs-White to send Forest to Wembley.

Norrington-Davies, who was recalled for the second-leg in the absence of Enda Stevens, has been one of many Blades players reacting to the season coming to an end. He took to Instagram to say:

The 23-year-old has made 24 appearances for Sheffield United in the Championship this season, making inroads at first-team level after stints with Luton Town and Stoke City on loan in recent years.

The Verdict

The togetherness of this Sheffield United squad has been evident for a number of years now. It’s a similar squad that won promotion under Chris Wilder and that unity was shining through yesterday in the play-offs.

The Blades’ second-half comeback was superb and, in truth, they were unlucky not to win the tie with the way in which they played last night.

Ultimately, it was a toss of the coin in the shootout and Samba was the hero.

Despite that, there are so many reasons for Sheffield United to hold their heads high and look forward to 2022/23 already.

Thoughts? Let us know!

Quiz: Which club did Sheffield United sign these 24 players from in the 1990s?

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Rangers v Eintracht – Ibrox star warns Van Bronckhorst’s side about ‘dangerous’ UEL final opponents

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Rangers star Leon Balogun has warned his side not to underestimate Eintracht Frankfurt in tonight’s Europa League final.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side take on the German club in the final of the competition this evening, the third time they will take on a Bundesliga side this year.

Rangers have already seen off Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig in the previous rounds, pulling off surprise results against both of them to seal their place in the final.

It means they are confident of repeating the trick against Frankfurt, although Oliver Glasner’s side will be equally buoyant after their own run to the final.

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They pulled off arguably the biggest shock of the tournament with their win over Barcelona in the quarter-finals, while they were heavily impressive against West Ham in the semi-finals.

It means Frankfurt are a side not to be underestimated, something Rangers’ defender Balogun is well aware of after spending the early part of his career in Germany.

“Frankfurt is a dangerous squad. You don’t just knock out Barcelona and West Ham like that,” Kicker report him saying.

“What I know from the derbies is that, especially when the stakes are high, Eintracht is very united, plays physical and makes it unpleasant for the opponent.

“(It’s) a doable task (but) that’s what the Frankfurt team thinks, too.”

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