Musah will line up against his former Arsenal alumni Bukayo Saka this evening but it could have been a different story had England and Southgate had their way.
‘They took one of ours which we weren’t too happy about! ,’ Southgate told reporters ahead of tonight’s clash in .
‘With Yunus it was strange situation because he was in our Under-19s really. We went into the pandemic so it wasn’t possible to see games and travel.
‘But in the end you’ve got to go with you heart. He is very good at progressing the ball and driving past people. He is a player we have to respect.’
Musah had represented England at Under-18 level and at one point the Football Association was convinced he would commit his international future to Southgate’s team.
Instead, Musah, who has been linked with a return to Arsenal, will feature prominently for England’s opponents in what will represent a proud moment for Gunners legend Freddie Ljungberg.
The former Sweden international played a key role in the development of both Musah and Saka during his time as a youth coach with his former club.
He told the Daily Mail: ‘For me, it is unbelievable to see – it’s a really cool thing.
‘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.’
‘Yunus was put up a couple of age groups to play in the team with Bukayo because I thought he had the talent,’ recalled the Swede.
‘He was a bit younger and worked really hard. Yunus left when I went to Germany which was sad that Arsenal let him go.
‘That’s how the world is and it’s nice to see him is making a name for himself.’
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