Arsenal are famed for bringing youngsters through the academy into the first team and this season has seen more than a few graduates being pitched into the squad. Although their impact has been variable, the one that seems to have been used more than most is Bukayo Saka, with 11 starts and another 5 coming off the bench.
The 18 year-old is really a wing forward, and has even bagged two goals in the Europa League, but has recently been used as a wing-back to cover for injuries, and it seems he has impressed our new coach, Mikel Arteta, with his adaptability as well as his skills. “He’s learning that you are able to adapt and that you are able to sacrifice for the team, and [you learn that you] don’t use excuses,” Arteta said on Arsenal.com.
“If you are moved, to say ‘OK, now if I do not play good, I have the right excuse because this is not my position’. It’s the complete opposite, try to learn, try to pick things up straight away and try to be more productive for the team, and I think he [Saka] has done it really, really well.
“Those game moments, you have to read them and when you play more games and you become more mature, you start to make better decisions all the time because you can sniff where the danger is, depending on the result, how many minutes are played and what happened in the last two actions. And we have to help him to do that.
“I love working with young players,” Arteta continued. “The last few years I worked with so many of them and it’s so fulfilling when they are willing and they ask the right questions, and they want more and they are eager to learn.
“It’s incredible because when that [development] really happens, afterwards, for them, it’s very inspirational.”
Well the new boss certainly has a lot of youngsters to work with now that he is at Arsenal, but it would appear that Bukayo Saka is the one that has impressed Arteta the most in his first week at the club…