Arsenal Debate – Why I don’t want Saka anywhere near the England team

Arsenal do have a rather reactionary fanbase, don’t we? by Dan Smith

We are quick to point out that an Ozil, Mustafi, Xakha or Lacazette are not good enough, but just as quick to go overboard with praise after a couple of decent performances.

You would think, in a season where we have been closer to a relegation fight then a top 4 finish up ‘til now, we might be humble enough to hold our hands up, write off the campaign, and allow others to get the plaudits. Yet, despite being 9th, we still have the temerity to expect credit.
For example, no; Leno is not one of the best three keepers in the Premiership; Torreira is not a world class DM; and no, we do not possess one of the best strike forces in the country. If all that was true, our League position would not equate to 9th..

The latest debate around the Emirates is which nation should Saka choose to represent, having represented England in the underage groups? This chat is growing with Euro 2020 around the corner and some thinking our youngster deserves a call up.

The 18 year-old recently contributed to three assists in consecutive matches, but you can’t just pick out the statistics which suit you. Of his 9 assists, 6 have come in the cup competitions. While you can’t ignore his current impact, can you also turn a blind eye that in his 10 League games at left back (that’s where people are saying he should play for the Three Lions) we have only won three. Including his starts further forward, he’s only been on the winning side 5 out of 17 attempts.

Please don’t mistake this for criticism. He could be a top player for us, indeed has had a reputation at our academy for years now as being one to watch. I just want to protect him from too much pressure and let him develop naturally. It’s disrespectful to full-backs who have performed at the highest level for years in big games and moments to say they should miss out on a European championship based on 3 assists (0 goals) in 17 Premiership outings.

Gareth Southgate chooses not to start Alexander Arnold (my player of the year) so he’s not a coach who judges his full backs on their attacking ability. And remember, the long-term plan is for Saka not to be a wingback.

Arteta has been quick to stress he is view that Saka and Maitland-Niles are playing out of position in defence. He’d rather have a centre back at right back and it will only be a matter of time before the kid is in attack. It’s not just that I don’t think he’s ready for the Three Lions, selfishly I want him nowhere near the set up. In the long term it won’t help Arsenal or him.

Our press goes so over the top in the UK, he’s an assist away against a Czech Republic or Croatia in the Euros from every last detail being scrutinised. Suddenly he comes back in the pre-season and the world cares about where he lives, his relationships, his background, how he dresses, etc. He will have sponsors whispering in his ears promising him the world. He could find himself as the face of brands he doesn’t know exists at the moment.

And of course, he’ll have agents demanding he get paid way too much too soon and bang!…. He’s suddenly at Man City!

I feel Arteta is the type to make sure the teenager is being protected off the pitch and has the right network around him, and I could see him stepping in if that’s not the case.

Please don’t read this as anything else then wanting the best for Saka. The fact is though he’s only 18, no need to rush. Let him have a summer break on holiday. Let his body fill out and let him become the player we all hope he can become…

Be kind in the comments

Dan Smith

15 Comments

  1. Top Gunner says:

    According to you, by not playing for England it’ll improve his game? You cant improve your game when you are on holiday. If Southgate feels he is good, then he needs to play for England. Its not your call to make

    1. Phil says:

      I’m with Dan all the way on this.We are talking about an 18 year old kid who would have had less than a season of Premiere League football.
      I thought England prefer the youth players to go through the age groups and play in the tournaments. Surely that would be better at his age.And I would prefer it even more if he had the whole summer off ready for next pre-season when he would be fresher and fit.Too much is expected of young players

  2. Lenohappy says:

    Sensible post as always Dan smith.

  3. Eddie says:

    I share your views Dan. I want him no where near the English team for now.
    Like I was saying yesterday, people suddenly expects these kids (Martinelli) & and Saka to start every single game and expect then to deliver. Forgetting that it’s just their first season.
    If you go through the confirmed line ups yesterday you’d read one or two comments pointing out how Saka has gotten the clown virus and was being incompetent in the second half.
    I was like wow, such insane accusations already? Without considering fatigue?
    You see how small that circle were yesterday when they said those discouraging stuffs about him?

    It’ll be on a global scale if he gets called up now and he has on or two bad games.
    These fans are no where near trustworthy to ever stand by young footballers.

    Plus Saka isn’t a LB. If Southgate wants to use him as a LB then with all due respect, I’ll be giving my middle finger to Southgate.
    Don’t come ruin shît for us, the only reason we’re playing Saka there is because we have injured players so in completely with you on the whole exposure and massive pressure thing

    1. SueP says:

      I agree,
      Walcott was off to the World Cup at a tender age courtesy of AW and Sven didn’t play him at all. I don’t think that the exposure helped Walcott at all.

      A softly, softly approach makes more sense. Allow Saka to develop at a sensible pace

  4. Baba sagna says:

    I like wat u said about saka and can agree with u on the point about torreira and our strike force..but I will debate with you from heaven to hell about Leno,,,go research where we gonna be without him…he’s the most important player in the team after aubameyang…says so much about him,,,just like de Gea was for United some years back…guys appreciate this guy..think wat almunia or kepa would do to us with the state of our defense…maybe we’d have been relegated already

    1. SAGooner says:

      I think Dan was being a bit tongue-in-cheek re Leno, Torreir, etc.

    2. Dan says:

      I like him
      Just wouldn’t put him top.3 at moment

  5. Grandad says:

    Agree wholeheartedly Dan.

  6. jon fox says:

    DAN ASKS US TO BE KIND IN OUR COMMENTS. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO BE SO, HAVING READ ONE OF THE BEST AND MOST REALISTIC POSTS FOR SIMPLY AGES. WELL SAID DAN!
    WARNING THOUGH; ALL MY KINDNESS QUOTA FOR THIS MONTH IS NOW USED UP, SO PLEASE EXPECT THE USUAL MISERABLE OLD GIT TO BE HERE NEXT TIME!

  7. Musdon says:

    Saka could be Arsenal’s answer to Ryan Giggs. He could also turn out to be a flop. For now, let’s enjoy his performances

    1. jon fox says:

      Or , which is more likely than BOTH your suggestions, he could turn out to be a top player but short of Giggs standard though still really good- GIGGS HAVING BEEN A TRUE GREAT PLAYER. Far more likely IMO!

  8. Adega Olatunji says:

    Saka will play for Nigeria at the world cup in 2022 so stop the arguments

    1. jon fox says:

      I would not presume to argue with a Nigerian like you who is so clearly biased towards a man he regards as his own countryman. Whether or not the player chooses to be a NIGERIAN OR ENGLISHMAN remains to be seen, though I am interested in whether YOU will be so keen on him if he chooses England as his country, as he well might. In either case there is a long way to go before he represents either country, in terms of required standard. But a lesser standard will be applied to Nigeria.

      1. Adega Olatunji says:

        well. it might be in your DNA to have a dig at people because I can see you enjoy it. But if he eventually chooses Nigeria just as victor moses and alex ibi did ate you going to protest as an arsenal fan? we in Nigeria we love him and we pray for him to excel

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