Mikel Arteta reveals talks with England boss Gareth Southgate over Bukayo Saka burnout concerns

Saka has been ever-present for the Gunners this season
Saka has been ever-present for the Gunners this season (Picture: Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta says he has discussed concerns over Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka suffering from burnout ahead of Euro 2020 with England manager Gareth Southgate.

In what has proven to be a dismal campaign for the Gunners, Saka has been a rare shining light along with fellow Hale End academy graduate Emile Smith Rowe.

The north London club go into their clash against Brighton on the final day of the season with a slim chance of qualifying for the Europa Conference League if both Everton and Tottenham drop points in their matches.

Southgate announces his England squad on Tuesday
Southgate announces his England squad on Tuesday (Picture: Getty Images)

But should that fail to materialise, Arsenal will be without European competition for the first time in 25 years.

Saka, meanwhile, has made 45 appearances for the Gunners this season and will be hoping his fine performances will earn him a spot in Southgate’s 26-man England squad, which is due to be announced on Tuesday.

Should the 19-year-old make the cut for this summer’s rescheduled tournament, Arteta is hoping he will be taken care of.

‘There is a risk [of burnout],’ said Arteta.

‘I think the schedule that they have been through in the last two years has been crazy. He has handled that situation really, really well.

‘I know Gareth and he has been brilliant at managing them as well, and I spoke with him about it. We just hope that they do the right thing.

‘But he [Saka] is very determined to go and help his country, which is incredible at his age, and he needs to enjoy that because he has earned every right to be there.’

Southgate has plenty of difficult selection dilemmas to contend with, and it may help that Saka has played in a multitude of positions for the Gunners already.

‘Well, I think he has had periods where he has played really well for me in a back four as a full-back,’ the Spaniard replied when asked about Saka’s best position.

‘He has been exceptional on the right wing, he has been really good playing as wing-back. I think having that flexibility for him has made him a different player.

‘He is really intelligent and he can pick things up very quickly. And slowly we will mould him more to the position that we want him to play.’

MORE : Mikel Arteta speaks out on Arsenal’s chances of finishing above Spurs for the first time FIVE years

MORE : Arsenal starlet Bukayo Saka should ‘100 per cent’ be in England’s Euro 2020 squad, says Nigel Winterburn

For more stories like this, check our sport page.

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

No comments