Bukayo Saka admits Arsene Wenger regret as Arsenal star reveals Thierry Henry contact

Bukayo Saka has revealed how Thierry Henry reached out to him after missing a penalty in the Euro 2020 final shootout and how one of his biggest regrets is not meeting Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal forward is in line to start against France on Saturday night after scoring in the 3-0 win over Senegal in the round of 16 on Sunday.

The 21-year-old is now his country’s joint-top scorer at the World Cup overcoming his Euros heartbreak and the subsequent racist abuse he faced on social media in 2021.

Legendary Gunners striker Henry reached out to boyhood fan Saka after the incident.

Saka, who proudly followed Arsenal since joining the academy aged 7, would also reveal how one of his biggest regrets is not meeting Arsenal’s greatest-ever manager Arsene Wenger.

“One of my biggest regrets was that I haven’t met Arsene Wenger,” Saka told reporters at England’s training base ahead of a match against the world champions.

“I know how much my dad loves him, how much everyone at the club loves him.

“I know what he has done for the club, of course. We had so many other French players too like Thierry Henry and Robert Pires who have been around the club and helped me.

“Thierry called me [after I missed the penalty in the Euro 2020 final]. He showed a lot of character to get my number and reach out to me.

“After most Arsenal games, he reaches out to me and he is still passionate about the club. He is an amazing person. They still support me to this day. I am grateful to them.

“Of course, on the pitch, they were magnificent and won silverware for Arsenal. They are legends.”

Arsenal’s connection to France continues with defender William Saliba called up to Didier Deschamps’s squad.

After being asked about the threat that the World Cup’s top scorer poses to England over the weekend, Saka was asked to name France’s next-best player.

He added: “I like William Saliba! No, of course, they have so many players. I could name a few.

“I like Ousmane Dembele, I think he is really good. They have so many quality players so we have to be ready for all of them in their own way.”

Gareth Southgate now counts Saka as one of his regular starters which has seen him quickly rack up 23 caps since his debut in October 2020.

England v Senegal FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar | Round of 16 | 4th December 2022

England’s Bukayo Saka, right, celebrates with England’s Phil Foden, left, and England’s Harry Kane after scoring his side’s 3rd goal (AP)
England’s Bukayo Saka, right, celebrates with England’s Phil Foden, left, and England’s Harry Kane after scoring his side’s 3rd goal (AP)
Bukayo Saka of England celebrates after scoring the team’s third goal (Getty Images)
Bukayo Saka of England celebrates after scoring the team’s third goal (Getty Images)
England’s midfielder #08 Jordan Henderson applauds as he is being substituted (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s midfielder #08 Jordan Henderson applauds as he is being substituted (AFP via Getty Images)
ngland’s forward #17 Bukayo Saka scores his team’s third goal (AFP via Getty Images)
ngland’s forward #17 Bukayo Saka scores his team’s third goal (AFP via Getty Images)
Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly looks dejected after England’s third goal (REUTERS)
Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly looks dejected after England’s third goal (REUTERS)
England’s Jordan Henderson with manager Gareth Southgate after being substituted (REUTERS)
England’s Jordan Henderson with manager Gareth Southgate after being substituted (REUTERS)
England’s Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their third goal (REUTERS)
England’s Bukayo Saka celebrates scoring their third goal (REUTERS)
Supporters of Senegal (AFP via Getty Images)
Supporters of Senegal (AFP via Getty Images)
England’s Bukayo Saka scores their third goal (REUTERS)
England’s Bukayo Saka scores their third goal (REUTERS)
England manager Gareth Southgate celebrates their first goal (REUTERS)
England manager Gareth Southgate celebrates their first goal (REUTERS)
Harry Kane of England scores the team’s second goal past Abdou Diallo of Senegal (Getty Images)
Harry Kane of England scores the team’s second goal past Abdou Diallo of Senegal (Getty Images)

Saka is now dreaming of following in the footsteps of France in 2018 by winning the World Cup in Qatar.

“I always allow myself to dream,” he concluded. “Having watched the tournament growing up, I have a lot of memories.

“I remember the tournament from South Africa 2010 with the amazing theme song. I would just wake up and dream that I want to do this, score a goal in the World Cup.

“I always allow myself to dream.”