Will Saka suffer the same fate as Theo Walcott?
As proud as us Arsenal fans are of Bukayo Saka being called up for the Euro 2021 tournament, you can’t help but feel worried, for a number of reasons.
One – after a difficult season with an added pandemic, I worry, as with all our players that have gone to their international teams, they will suffer burnout and not be ready and fit to fire us to a respectable enough season next year.
And two – although he played and scored in their friendly 1-0 win over Austria yesterday, he is not guaranteed a starting place. So flashbacks come to mind of when Theo Walcott was called up to the England squad under Sven-Goran Eriksson for the 2006 World Cup, at the age of just 17, where he did not play in one game during that tournament and England were knocked out in the quarter-finals.
What that did to Theo’s confidence was clear for all to see, despite having all of that potential talent and the ability to become one of England’s, and maybe the worlds best striker. Theo, despite having some good games and times in an Arsenal shirt, didn’t really live up to the prospect he could have been, and after 12 years at Arsenal he found himself at Everton and now Southampton after leaving Arsenal in 2018 with 270 appearances and 65 goals.
I worry the same thing will happen with Saka.
I know it has been 15 years, the game has changed, players have changed as has the manager. But lets not forget, Saka is still young, and after carrying part of the weight on his shoulders to ensure we didn’t get relegated this season, it has been tough mentally and physically on all players, let alone the youngsters.
Saka as we know has come through the academy and has been thrust into the limelight, so far producing, albeit inconsistently along with his team and along with a few other Arsenal players, has done their best in getting us back into the top half of the table. Although it was not enough for Europe or a trophy, you can see the effort and passion put in.
Although there were times, we would have more than one Arsenal player called up for England, like I said you cannot help but be proud, I just hope this isn’t a repeat of 2006!
Here’s hoping hey Gooners?