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Mikel Arteta trusts Gareth Southgate to look after Bukayo Saka

Mikel Arteta trusts Gareth Southgate to look after Bukayo Saka
© Reuters
The 19-year-old has been a bright spot in a largely disappointing season for the Gunners.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has no intention of standing in the way of Bukayo Saka being part of the England contingent at the European Championship this summer despite concerns over burnout.

The 19-year-old has established himself as a rare shining light in a disappointing season for the Gunners, so much so that he recently played down suggestions he was "carrying" the north London club.

His displays have led to a rapid international ascent; Saka made his senior bow last October a month after his Under-21s debut and the four-cap wideman is tipped for inclusion in Gareth Southgate's Euros squad.

Bukayo Saka has been a star performer for Arsenal this season (Frank Augstein/PA)
Bukayo Saka has been a star performer for Arsenal this season (Frank Augstein/PA)

While Arteta welcomes the prospect, he is wary of how this will impact Saka, who could make his 51st appearance of the campaign for club and country when Arsenal welcome Brighton in the Premier League season finale on Sunday.

Arteta referenced a busy past couple of years for Saka, who burst on to the scene at the start of last season, but the Spaniard trusts Southgate to handle the teenager carefully if he is selected to be part of the England group.

"There is a risk (of burnout)," Arteta said. "The schedule they have been through in the last two years has been crazy. He's handled that situation really, really well.

"I know Gareth and he's brilliant at managing them as well. I spoke with him about it, we just hope they do the right thing.

"But he's very determined to go and help his country and he needs to enjoy that because he has earned every right to be there."

Mikel Arteta trusts Gareth Southgate, pictured, to do
Mikel Arteta trusts Gareth Southgate, pictured, to do "the right thing" with Saka if the youngster is selected in England's Euros squad (Glyn Kirk/PA)

Saka has been used in a variety of positions on either flank this term and Arteta is pleased with the youngster's ability to adapt, which could count in his favour when Southgate names his squad.

"I think he had periods where he's played really well for me in a back four, as a full-back, he's been exceptional on the wing, he's been really good as well playing as a wing-back," Arteta said.

"I think having that flexibility for him has made him a different player, he's really intelligent, he can pick things up very quickly and slowly we will mould him more to the position that we want him to play."

Arsenal have their sights set on a fourth successive victory this weekend, which could lift them into seventh place – if both Tottenham and Everton do not win – and a play-off spot in UEFA's new third-tier Europa Conference League.

Arteta has made plain his disappointment at how this season has unfolded although they are second in the form table since Christmas Day – behind only champions Manchester City.

Arsenal will be targeting a fourth successive win this weekend (Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA)
Arsenal will be targeting a fourth successive win this weekend (Facundo Arrizabalaga/PA)

Therefore, Arteta, whose side have finished outside the Champions League positions in the last five seasons, is optimistic they can pick up next term where they leave off.

"When you are winning football matches, since Christmas like we have done, you want to continue to give you the hope to achieve the goals that we had in the season, but it's not the case," Arteta said.

"After you have to reflect on it and be very critical with the period where it didn't work out and why it didn't work out and how are we going to make it better.

"But I just see an opportunity to do what we want to do and it has to be now. There is already a lot happened in the last three or four seasons and now we have to break the line and aim for something different."

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Euro 2020 Groups header
ABCDEF
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1 Italy Italy11003033
2 Switzerland Switzerland10101101
3 Wales flag Wales10101101
4 Turkey Turkey100103-30
Euro 2020 fixtures
Sunday, June 13, 2021
 
2pm
Monday, June 14, 2021
 
5pm
 
8pm
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
 
8pm
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
 
2pm
 
5pm
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
11Aston Villa38167155546955
12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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