sport news EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Freddie Ljungberg speaks of his pride with Bukayo Saka set ... trends now
Freddie Ljungberg will find his heart beating faster than usual on Friday night.
Not because he is nervous or anxious about the result as England stride out to face the USA at the Al Bayt Stadium. But rather because his heart will be bursting with pride.
It's set to be a proud moment for Freddie Ljungberg (R) when Bukayo Saka (L) takes on Yunus Musah
Two of his former players are set to go head-to-head here in Qatar and Ljungberg won’t be able to take his eyes off it.
Fresh from his brilliant brace in England’s opening game win over Iran on Monday night, Bukayo Saka is expected to keep his place in the England team.
At the opposite end of the pitch his former Arsenal team-mate Yunus Musah is expected to line-up for the USA.
Both are products of Arsenal’s Hale End academy. Both played under Ljungberg for the same team during the Gunners legend’s time as a youth coach at the Emirates.
It will be a gratifying night for Ljungberg as two of his fledglings try to outwit each other on the biggest stage of all.
But as Ljungberg concedes it won’t be a patch on the emotion that will course through his former players’ veins this evening.
Midfielder Musah was previously at Arsenal's academy before he left for Valencia in 2019
‘For me, it is unbelievable to see - it’s a really cool thing,’ Ljungberg told Sportsmail.
‘But for them it will be so much bigger and better. It’s a special day for both of them. It is amazing to see two players from the Arsenal academy that played with each other from when they were 14 or 15 years old to now playing against each other when they are 19 and 21 for two different countries and on the biggest stage of the World Cup.
‘The steps they have taken compared to five or six years ago shows how quickly it can go in football.’
Saka and Musah’s career paths are contrasting. Saka is Arsenal’s jewell in the crown - emerging from their youth set-up to become arguably their most important player.