Mikel Arteta, who has defended the Arsenal star’s decision not to be rotated, claims that Bukayo Saka is capable of playing 70 games every season.
Saka, who has been in superb form for the Gunners, started a game they defeated PSV Eindhoven 1-0 on Thursday night in the Europa League. The 21-year-old has played nearly every minute of club football for Arteta thus far this season, missing just 179 minutes.
When Saka got injured after Granit Xhaka’s goal against PSV, Arteta’s decision not to rest him after a hectic stretch of four games in 11 days drew significant criticism. The youthful winger continued despite clearly being in pain until Reiss Nelson took his place in the 85th minute.
The health of England’s best players is under scrutiny as the World Cup approaches. Arteta is unconcerned about Saka, although Reece James, Kalvin Phillips, and Kyle Walker are all presently out injured and attempting to recover in time for the Three Lions’ opening match against Iran on November 21.
When asked about Saka, he responded, “Look at the top players in the world – they play 70 matches, every three days and make the difference and win the game,” he shot back when asked about Saka.
“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’.”
Saka was kicked, and Arteta downplayed its significance by saying, “Yeah, he got a kick, and he was limping a little bit, but hopefully he will be alright.”