Kevin Campbell says Saka is right to ask for referee’s protection

Kevin Campbell believes Bukayo Saka is right to ask for protection from the referee despite being criticised by Steven Gerrard for doing that. The Arsenal man is one of the finest attackers in the Premier League now.

The way he plays attracts a lot of tackles from opposing defenders and he is often targeted deliberately. In his latest match against Aston Villa, he got some rough treatment from the likes of Tyrone Mings and Ashley Young. He then complained to the referee and asked for more protection.

However, he has been criticised because football, the critics claim, is a contact sport. This means he should expect to get kicked and the referee does not have to give fouls because of them.

But Campbell believes he needs to be protected and did the right thing by asking that from the referee.

He tells Football Insider: “Saka has done the right thing as far as I’m concerned. At the end of the day, being kicked from pillar to post is not nice. We don’t want that happening to a young, gifted English player.

“It looked like he got targeted the other day. He kept getting up though. He wasn’t moaning.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

We have seen some young and exciting players have their careers cut short because of serious injuries. Jack Wilshere is a prime example of what could happen.

He broke into the Arsenal first team and kept getting kicked as he thrived. Eventually, he paid for that later in his career, and we lost a very talented player.

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Tags Bukayo Saka Kevin Campbell


  1. Villa fans recognise their most creative player calling for more protection from referees. Grealish used to attract a lot of fouls (more even than Saka) and you can imagine Arsenal fans saying, ‘yes but he used to dive’. I’d put it differently. . . he knew how to draw a foul, or look as if he had. Saka is the same. Watch the Mings tackle and you’ll see that Saka trailed his left leg to draw the foul. He could have jumped out of the way but chose not to. He needs to be careful though because its easy to get injured that way and he’s a wonderful player who really doesn’t need to resort to the dark arts to fulfil his potential

  2. Campbell is clearly right on this point. The fact football is a contact sport doesnt necessarily give someone a license to kick an opposing player from pillar to post throughout the match. The officials on the field and the authorities who make the decisions must ensure that dellibrate kicking is severely punished as it not only blunts the player during the match but could also lead to long term injuries as was the case with Wilshere.

  3. Refs who mak e top level have never played the game at any serious level and that is a constant drawback when so many do not have the nous to recognise that creative players such as Saka are increasingly becoming cunningly targeted by opponents, BUT IN ROTATION, thus avoiding RED CARDS.

    Playeer and fans know this goes on, so do pundits. BUT refs see only the foul and NOT the longer strategy to harm those like SAKA, WHO CREATE .

    Until refs are chosen from ex players and ones who may have retired early through injury, I do not see this dismally unfair situation much changing. Sigh!

    Though I have long said that refs are NOT cheats, as so many argue(with fan bias , IMO), I HAVE LONG ARGUED THAT MOST ARE SERIOUSLY IMCOMPETENT AND UNFIT TO REF AT TOP LEVEL.

  4. I believe that in the main Premier League officials are very good, the speed in which the game is played now makes their job even more difficult than before and that’s one of the reasons goal line technology and VAR have been introduced, successfully in my view, but it has always been the fan’s prerogative to have a go at the ref (and now VAR), we always have, we always will

    I believe that player protection against injury is far better now than it has ever been

    I do think ocasionally the officials allow their feelings to interfere with their actions, probably subconsciously, like booking Xhaka for persistent fouls when in truth it was his first and when that happens I’m sure they are held to account within their own processes as it was obviously a mistake by that particular ref on that particular occasion

    I don’t think former players in general would make good refs, which is probably why not many try, as most didn’t understand the laws of the game when they played and probably know even less now

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