Paul Scholes digs out Ian Wright and Arsenal icons for 'being afraid' over Euro 2024 issue

Paul Scholes has aimed fun at Ian Wright. (Image: GETTY)

Paul Scholes has aimed an indirect dig at Ian Wright after the Arsenal legend suggested that Bukayo Saka could become England’s left-back to facilitate Cole Palmer. Gareth Southgate will be weighing up his England team ahead of Sunday’s Euro 2024 last-16 clash against Slovakia following an underwhelming group stage.

Palmer impressed when he replaced Saka for his first taste of international tournament football against Slovenia last time out, playing the final 20 minutes.

His impact has sparked calls to start the Chelsea talisman in the knockout stage after England managed just two goals in their three Group C games against Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia.

Southgate has kept his faith in his first-choice attacking trio – Saka, Phil Foden and Harry Kane – in Germany so far.

The Three Lions boss’ sole change during the group stage was replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold with Conor Gallagher for the final group fixture.

He is expected to change Declan Rice’s partner again this weekend after Kobbie Mainoo impressed as a substitute with Palmer, reportedly earning a starting berth against Slovakia.

But Wright suggested that Southgate should also consider starting Palmer by moving Saka to the left, which he believes is the Arsenal forward’s natural area.

“As great as Saka has done for England in terms of what he creates and his goals and assists, he is a natural left-sided player,” Wright told ITV.

Bukayo Saka is England’s first-choice right-winger. (Image: Getty)

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“He started playing for England on the left at youth level, and he started at Arsenal on the left. If that’s going to give you the balance and get you Cole Palmer in the team, it’s something you have to at least look at.

“Yes, Kyle Walker can play there [at left-back], but it’s the same situation where you have the player coming inside, you have no one going around. He’s a natural left-footer Saka, we could activate the whole left side.”

However, Scholes has taken issue with Wright’s comments, implying that the Gunners legend’s club ties were the root of his idea to move Saka to the opposite flank.

“Making me p**s these Arsenal legends trying to get Saka in at left-back because they’re afraid he’s going to be left out for Palmer [crying laughter emoji],” Scholes wrote on Instagram.

Despite Scholes’ bemusement, his former Manchester United team-mate Gary Neville agreed with Wright’s bold comments.

Neville, also working as a pundit for ITV, added: “I think that it would be brilliant to see Bukayo Saka at left-back, but I think Gareth Southgate won’t do that.

“What you may get him to do is put Kyle Walker as left-back and put Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right, who is a brilliant user of the ball on the right-hand side.

“Having Kieran Tripper and Walker on either side means we’re blocking a little bit both sides and I think having Trent on one side is the best we’re going to get.”