Jose Mourinho predicted the forward thrust that Bukayo Saka gave England on Tuesday before the Arsenal star had kicked a ball at Wembley.
Ahead of the final Euro 2020 Group D games on Tuesday Mourinho was asked about Arsenal starlet Saka.
The 19-year-old got an unexpected start in the 1-0 win over the Czech Republic with Phil Foden rested and Mason Mount forced to self-isolate.
And any doubts about the Gunners man starting were quickly put to bed on 12 minutes when he turned on halfway and powered past a couple of Czech players before playing a one-two with Kalvin Phillips.
Eventually Jack Grealish picked up the ball on the left before clipping in a ball which Raheem Sterling headed home.
And Mourinho, speaking ahead of kick-off says he “truly believes” in man-of-the-match Saka.
“It’s not about young or old,” Mourinho told talkSPORT. “It’s about quality, talent, personality and experience.
“The guy is young, but the guy has experience. He plays at a big club, he plays in the best league in the world.
“He has some international experience with the club and with the national team.
“I believe he is very talented, very confident, he can play in many positions.
“Of course people speak about Sancho and Rashford, there are so many good players.
“But I truly believe in Saka because I think he’s a very good boy.”
Southgate praise for Saka
Gareth Southgate refused to admit that Saka had been thrown in at the last minute after Covid-19 protocols had hit their preparation.
“We hadn’t finalised everything as we got the shout during training (over the players needing to isolate). We have been super impressed with Bukayo Saka throughout the month. He was excellent up at Middlesbrough and we have liked him with and without the ball. His receiving tonight under pressure was fantastic,” Southgate told ITV Sport.
Meanwhile, Saka revealed Southgate has given him the freedom to play, he told ITV Sport: “It was a really good performance from us. We played some really good football at times. With us already having qualified, we had more freedom to express ourselves. That showed in some of the football we played.
“The manager told me to go out and express myself. To play how I have played for my club all season. Sometimes that means driving at the opponents and I did that and got us up the pitch. It was a good cross from Jack for the goal and Raheem was in the right place at the right time again. I was up there but not quite tall enough.
“It is important to be here at Wembley for the round of 16. We have won here a lot. With our fans it is an extra man for us. I can only give my best when I am on the pitch.”