Arsenal

Arsenal facing nightmare pre-season scenario as Mikel Arteta rues Bukayo Saka decision

Football.London

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Bukayo Saka has been called up to the England squad once again for the June Nations League fixtures. England play Hungary, Germany and Italy before facing Hungary again just ten days after the first clash.

The high volume of international fixtures is sure to be frustrating for club coaches everywhere. After a long and arduous season, Mikel Arteta is under no illusions that his Arsenal star man Saka needs rest. In fact, he spoke as much about it ahead of the Everton game.

“He needs a break, that is for sure,” Arteta said. “He has played a lot of minutes this season and he played a lot of minutes last season.

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“You expect your important players to do so, to have that ability and show the quality that Bukayo has shown consistently throughout the season. But obviously, you have to bear in mind that at some stage he needs to rest. That is something we really need to think about, the plans for him in the summer.”

He was asked whether he would speak to Gareth Southgate about it. The Spaniard said that he would do, although it looks as though any hope of an extended rest for Saka has now been extinguished.

“Yes, we are going to do that,” the Spaniard said. “We are going to talk to every manager that is responsible for our players – how they are thinking, show them what they have done, how we have done it and what we expect them to do in the future as well. Everything has to be connected and related to the aim of protecting the player and getting the best out of the player.”

Arteta though faces an even greater frustration. Saka has been given more motivation not to slow down as England prepare for the World Cup.

In the previous Southgate side, Saka was seen as the only regular orthodox right-winger. This gave him plenty of encouragement that a place in the squad and even the starting eleven in Qatar was a near certainty.

However, Southgate has brought in competition for Saka in the form of West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen. The former Hull City man has 18 goals and 13 assists across all competitions, with 12 of each coming in the Premier League.

The eclipses Saka who, despite significantly improving his goal contributions this season, finished on 12 goals and seven assists in three competitions. Bowen will be looking to push his younger compatriot and fight for a place in the team.

The earliest then that Saka will have a break b…

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