England's Saka ready to erase Euro demons

Aaron Ramsdale has backed England and Arsenal teammate Bukayo Saka to step up if called upon to take a penalty at the World Cup, despite copping racist abuse after his shootout miss in the European Championship final.

Saka and his England teammates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were the targets of online abuse after they missed spot-kicks in a 3-2 shootout loss to Italy after the game ended 1-1 following extra time.

Saka has scored every spot-kick he has taken for Arsenal since his Wembley miss, including in big games against Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool.

When asked if Saka would volunteer to take a penalty at the World Cup, Ramsdale told reporters: "Absolutely. He is three from three since that day."

"I think he has realised it was just something that happened to him and he would not shy away from that because he is that type of person.

"He knows the feeling now and hopefully next time he steps up he can put the ball in the back of the net."

Saka has certainly let his football do the talking as he ended last season as Arsenal's top goalscorer and has so far this year been one of their standout players as they sit five points clear at the Premier League summit.

"Impeccably, probably," Ramsdale replied when asked how he felt Saka had handled the miss and subsequent abuse last year.

England play their Group B opener against Iran on Monday, before facing the United States and Wales.

Ramsdale also revealed England are not planning to practise penalties against their goalkeeping contingent for fear of the trio becoming too good at saving them and lowering confidence among the takers.

"We haven't done any with goalkeepers at the minute, we have something which is called a skills net where the corners are open," he said.

"At the moment I think the lads are just working on sort of the technique. I think it can become detrimental if they are taking them against goalkeepers because we then start to know where they are going.

"We can start to gamble a little bit, especially when we don't want to get scored on all the time. So, the later rounds, I think we'll start seeing them introduced into more pressurised ones with the goalkeepers.

"If I know where you are going seven times out of 10 and I start cheating and going early and start saving them, you might start worrying about it."

- with PA