‘You have to be able to do that’ – Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta dismisses concerns over Bukayo Saka’s game time despite injury
Posted by  badge Boss on Oct 21
Saka played 85 minutes of Thursday’s game (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta insists he has no concerns over the amount of game time Bukayo Saka is receiving this season ahead of England’s campaign.

Saka has started all but two of Arsenal’s 14 games this season, virtually ever present in the manager’s Premier League side.

The 21-year-old was in the starting XI once again on Thursday night for the clash against PSV Eindhoven, playing 85 minutes at the Emirates despite picking up a minor knock earlier in the second-half.

With England’s campaign in Qatar quickly shifting into focus with the opening group game against Iran now just a month away, Saka’s fitness will be closely monitored by fans and Gareth Southgate.

But Arteta insists he has no qualms over starting Saka every game, insisting top players must become accused to playing ’70 matches a season’.

‘Look at the top players in the world, they play 70 matches, every three days and make the difference and win the game,’ Arteta said after the 1-0 win over PSV, with Granit Xhaka getting the game’s only goal.

‘You want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that. And if we start to put something different in the mind of a young player, I think we are making a huge mistake because then [he would] be like ‘no, I don’t play now, on astroturf I don’t play.

Saka needed treatment for a second-half knock (Picture: Getty)

‘I don’t want that. I want them to be ruthless every three days. I want them knocking on my door (saying) ‘I want to play, I want to win the game’

He added: ‘There is no fitness coach in the world that is going to tell me that they cannot do it, because I’ve seen it. 72 games and scored 50 goals.

‘The players that score 50 goals do not play 38 games in the season, it’s just impossible.’

Shortly after Xhaka’s goal, Saka saw his own effort denied after bursting past PSV defenders, getting a kick on the back of his calf before letting his shot go.

The winger received treatment and was briefly seen limping following the incident but Arteta said there were no major concerns over the knock.

Asked about Saka’s injury, Arteta said: ‘Yeah he got a kick, he was limping a little bit, but hopefully he will be all right.’


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