So much for wrapping them up in cotton wool!
You know I like nothing more than when our Arsenal players get called up to their respective national sides (well sometimes) but now more than ever I think we need to manage them better!
This season for obvious reasons is not going as we hoped it would. After claiming the FA Cup and the Community Shield just a few months after Arteta taking the reins, we thought top four would be the least we would get, but that is sadly not to be the case.
As the team has clearly struggled with lack of confidence, character, intensity and creativity this season it was hard for us fans to see where it would come from. But a revival in December with big inputs from the likes of Saka and Smith-Rowe have helped get some sort of form and character into the team where not all, but some, results have proved what we are capable of.
So as the season goes on it seems that players like Saka and Smith-Rowe are becoming an ever important part of the side, which I have no issues with. But I do feel that we should also focus on the more senior players because if I was a senior player and I thought fans were more confident in the younger stars then I would be worried about their confidence in my ability, and of course it would change my mindset each time I play. I think all players should be shown the same amount of confidence because, let’s not forget, no one player is bigger or better than a club, not even Saka or Smith-Rowe.
What I will say in their defence though is yes it is good that they are coming through the academy into the first team and yes it is a proud moment for them to be called up to the England side. But given how this season has gone with the lockdown, the number of games played and the Euros still to come, is it really fair on them to be called up to their national sides when the clubs need them to be careful as much as ever right now?