Tony Adams fires warning to Mikel Arteta over Bukayo Saka after Arsenal beat Southampton

Tony Adams says Arsenal are running the risk of overplaying Bukayo Saka
Tony Adams says Arsenal are running the risk of overplaying Bukayo Saka (Stadium Astro/Getty)

Tony Adams has warned Mikel Arteta that he is risking Bukayo Saka being burnt out following Arsenal’s victory over Southampton on Tuesday evening.

The 19-year-old delivered another influential display for the Gunners as his goal and assist helped Arteta’s side seal a 3-1 win at St Mary’s.

Saka has played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s resurgence in recent weeks with three goals and two assists in his last six Premier League appearances.

But former Arsenal captain Adams believes Arteta needs to be careful about overplaying Saka.

‘I had a very good coach, Don Howe, one of the greatest English coaches of all time, and he knew when to take me out and put me in. Arsenal can’t afford that because these kids are our best players,’ Adams told Stadium Astro.

‘I think Arteta’s going, ‘just go and play’, but you have to watch that, you really do. You’ll get burnt out, your form will drop, your confidence could go.

Bukayo Saka scored and assisted in Arsenal's 3-1 win over Southampton
Bukayo Saka scored and assisted in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Southampton (AFP via Getty)

‘At the moment Saka is just going on to the football pitch and just playing. And if you haven’t got the experienced players around these kids they can get lost, they really can.

‘We’ve seen Willock in recent years, players who have come in and initially come to life and then all of a sudden they lose their way and lose their confidence.

‘It’s very important for the coach to actually know when to say, ‘have a rest today’.

‘What Arteta’s done, and he did the same last year, he falls on a system, it works for him, and he kind of runs with it. I think that’s kind of dangerous.

‘He’s got no experience, he’s got no experience of working with these kind of young players, and I think that’s kind of worrying.

‘Don’t get me wrong, I think Arteta is wonderful and he’s going to be a top, top coach. I’d just prefer someone experienced in the camp. Whether it’s a sports director or an assistant.

‘After playing the system we did last year and winning the FA Cup, it put a lot of plasters on the system of play. And it took 10 or 15 games before he’s gone to a back four. He’s got round pegs in square holes.

‘I think the kid’s a wonderful player, I just hope he’s developed properly. At the end of the day, Arsenal are up to eighth and we’re climbing the league and your tendency is to keep playing these kids. And I think they’ll come unstuck.

‘All the good players who are not playing now, like Willian, are saying, ‘well, they’ve gone in front of us’. So when they come in [they will ask], ‘am I going to be an understudy to this kid?’. I’d be knocking down the door saying, ‘why are you playing the kid for? Play me!’.’

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