Bukayo Saka has told how Freddie Ljungberg was key in his
amazing breakthrough season at Arsenal.
The youngster initially worked with Saka with the youth sides, before finding himself working closely together for the senior side a couple of years later, and the 18 year-old has revealed how much of an impact he had on him and his fellow future stars.
Saka also stated his ‘awe’ when meeting his idol when they first worked together a few years back.
“The first time I met him, of course I was quite young so I was obviously in awe of him because he was a legend for Arsenal and he played in many successful Arsenal teams,” Saka told Arsenal’s official website.
“As soon as we started to work with him he always gave me advice because he played in my position as well. He gave me different advice on running in behind, finishing techniques, little things that have also helped my game.
“He knows the game as much as anyone else. He’s been there and played in the Premier League for many years. He would normally tell me how a game was going to go. If I was playing against a certain opponent, [he would tell me] how I’m going to match up against him and what I need to do to get the better of him, his weaknesses and stuff like that. He’d help me with that and of course on the mentality side he’d always encourage me. In all the aspects of the game, he was always trying to help me.
“He’s always gone out of his way to help me and push me to progress to the next level, so I’m grateful for all the work he’s done and I wish him all the best wherever he goes.”
I wasn’t initially worried about the departure of Freddie from the backroom, but it is hard to gauge just how much input each coach can have on the squad.
If we look at Manchester City, they seemed to struggle following Mikel Arteta’s departure from the Etihad in January, and a number of their players have come out to praise his impact on the training field, and now I’m worried that Ljungberg may well have been a big help to Mikel.
Will his departure see another coach brought into the backroom? Could his exit have more of an impact than previously imagined?