England's Bukayo Saka has developed 'ruthless' streak - Gareth Southgate

Gareth Southgate said Bukayo Saka has developed a "ruthless" streak that has helped take his game to new heights this season.

The 21-year-old made England's first goal and scored a sublime second as they beat Ukraine 2-0 at Wembley on Sunday to maintain their 100 percent start to Euro 2024 qualifying in Group C after Thursday's 2-1 win against Italy.

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Harry Kane netted his 55th international goal from Saka's clever cross before the Arsenal winger collected Jordan Henderson's pass to curl a fine effort into the top corner from outside the box.

Saka has scored 17 goals for club and country this season and has seven from his last 12 international starts. It is a marked improvement on his previous form and Southgate said: "That is the ruthless part he has added to his game in the last 18 months or so. There were times you weren't sure he was going to finish, but now he has that confidence in front of goal.

"I just think when he's in front of goal now, he plays with real belief. That is evident with his club and it is evident in the games with us. You are expecting him to score now when he goes through and that's been a mentality shift as much as anything technical. He's always had the technique.

"I think he knows to be a really top wide player you need the number of goals and assists and without a doubt he has delivered that all season.

"His hunger, his humility is what has got him on a good path. He has all the attributes to continue to improve and learn because that's how he's wired and I don't see that changing with how he is and how his family are.

"He's got great support around him and all those things are important for a young player. I'm not going to get drawn into where he sits in world football because that would then be starting to put him in danger of doing all the things we shouldn't be doing with him. He's progressing brilliantly, he's a joy to work with and we should leave it at that."

Saka will return to Premier League leaders Arsenal in a game against Leeds United on Saturday as they try to hold off Manchester City in the title race.

"Football is fun and it's always fun. I just hope the happiness can continue to the end of the season," said Saka, who has rebounded magnificently from missing a decisive penalty in the shootout in the Euro 2020 final after which he was subjected to racist abuse.

England are back together for European Championship qualification in June with matches against Malta and North Macedonia and a clear path to the finals in Germany next summer.

But Saka said nothing will be taken for granted: "I think we've been really mature. We can't just look past these games and magically be in the Euros. We have to qualify first."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.