Will Bukayo Saka become a better defender if he continues to develop as a fullback?

Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has advised Mikel Arteta to keep developing Bukayo Saka as a left-back at Arsenal. 

This is because the teenager has shown that he can make that position his natural position if he continues his upward trajectory.

However, he is naturally a left-winger and some people would argue that keeping him at left-back is affecting his progress.

Winterburn pointed to the fact that he has the pace and freedom to cause even more damage out wide from that position and I cannot help but wonder if the player is built for that position.

A left-back has a lot more responsibility than just getting forward and recovering fast.

We expect players in that position to also defend the ball well and provide good crosses. These aren’t Saka’s strength.

The teenager loves to go forward and does that well, but he is a major suspect at the back and I think when teams target him, he would struggle to even get forward.

Saka is built to influence the game in an attacking sense, which is one reason he thrives going forward, but I doubt if he will ever become a world-class defender.

Trying to make him an attacking left-back would limit his progress as a footballer. The best option is for Arteta to take him back forward when our left-backs are fit and only bring him back to that position when we need help there again.

Put it this way, in my opinion there is far more chance of Saka becoming an elite player as an attacking winger than there is as a left-back.

An article from Ime

Tags Bukayo Saka

8 Comments

  1. Robert Acedius says:

    Maybe Saka will be better, he’s a talented guy, but he will not be good enough. Because he’s no wing back. He’s a left winger. Then – for XXX sake – let him play winger! The qualities he has shown this season is a forwards qualities, not a defenders. His second half against Everton was disastrous. Only Lady Luck saved us in that game. If senior Arteta wont let Saka play LW, sell him to Klopp who will use him as left winger. It’s for the kids best. Klopp already have the prime LWB, Andrew “Andy” Robertson. And one thing’s for sure, with Bukayo Saka as left winger in Liverpool – they will give us hell at Anfield.

  2. Phil says:

    @Robert-don’t you believe that the only reason Arteta played Saka at LB was because both Tierney and Kolasinac injured we had nobody else who could play there? And Arteta very cleverly had Xhaka covering for Saka every time he went forward, highlighting the Managers superb tactical nous.
    Saka will be played in his natural position when, and only when, the Club have our two natural LB’s fit and available.

  3. jon fox says:

    As Phil says, once TierneY is reliably fit Saka will revert back to his natUral LW position. He diD very well, unexpectedly well even at LB but he has not the physical strength to play there permanently and needed help from others to succeed. A player of his outstanding and obvious ability to create direct chances and also score , which I believe he will increasigly do, HAS to be and WILL be played at LW. However when that and when any football will resume is IMO far further away than many seem to think.

    This MAY/ JUNE plan the Prem are supposedly discussing is nonsense, as events will show. With a true death figure, (including care homes and those at home) of around 25000 already dead, NO government will condone football restarting that soon. As I have repeatedly said, so get used to it, this season is already over. Sad but true!

    Apart from anything else once we get past June 30th , a myriad legal minefield applies to contracts and no rational person can sensibly believe the Prem will be finished by then. It won’t!

  4. Robert Acedius says:

    Of course the injury situation was the main reason why Bukayo Saka have to play in a position he didn’t like. But one of the problems with Tierney and Kola is that they so often are playing in the Rehab Series. And wasn’t it Freddie “The Swede” Ljungberg who got the weird idea of making a LWB of one of the most talented LW players in the EPL. Oh, those stupid swedes.

  5. Robert Acedius says:

    Addition: And now we maybe got another LWB, Layvin Kurzawa. Do you guys think he can play RWB? I mean, if Tierney will be fit for fight, at last. And Axel Disasi? No disaster I hope. He look big and strong. Something to get into the ring vs Harry Kane. Poor Harry – the last white hope.

  6. ZA mind says:

    depends on team formation of the day and opposition faced.
    With three center backs he may thrive on the left as half wingback.

  7. S says:

    OT: Layvin Kurzawa is apparently ours next season. But will we even get to play him, the current season still has to be finished

  8. Innit says:

    We need a LW. Martinelli can’t play all the time and Aubameyang is much more effective as a Striker than a LW.

    I hope both Kolsanic and Tierney will be healthy when play resumes

    If they are there won’t be much need for Saka at LB

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