Ian Wright slams Arsenal treatment of youngster

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Arsenal have been in poor form throughout the opening to the 2020/21 season.

The Gunners are currently in the bottom half of the Premier League table, already seven points behind leaders Tottenham Hotspur.

In their nine games, they have won four – beating Fulham, West Ham United, Sheffield United, and Manchester United – and lost four, against Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester City, and Aston Villa. Last time out they drew 0-0 with Leeds United.

It is a season that has been characterised by a lack of consistency and a general failure to click.

The fixtures aren’t getting easier, either; Arsenal face Wolves next before a trip to Spurs.

One player who has been central to Mikel Arteta’s plans already this term has been Bukayo Saka.

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The 19-year-old is belying his age with his performances, playing in a variety of positions – central midfield, left midfield and at left back – and making six starts in the league, along with one in the Europa League.

Saka scored against Sheffield United, and he has even become a full England international, making his debut against Wales in October. He also played against both Belgium and Iceland in the Nations League, while also featuring in the friendly versus the Republic of Ireland.

But Ian Wright, the former Arsenal striker, believes that the teenager’s continued inclusion points to a wider problem in Arteta’s squad.

Speaking on the Wrighty’s House podcast, as quoted by The Daily Mirror, he said: “He’s our most creative player at 19.

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“When you look at it like that, there’s something fundamentally wrong when he has to play so frequently to help a team like Arsenal to win.

“Even more so when we look at Mesut Ozil not being able to get a squad number.

“We’re asking an 19-year-old to come off the bench, he’s just played three games for England, and now he’s injured. That’s too much pressure already."

GIVEMESPORT’S Harry Sherlock says…

This is a measured, thoughtful take from Wright, who is absolutely right.

Saka, who is valued at £36m by Transfermarkt, is clearly seen as a promising young talent and he could well develop into a truly excellent player.

But he is being flogged, leading only to the possibility of eventual burnout.

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Saka, of course, is unlikely to complain himself; he’s a teenager living his dream of playing week in, week out in the Premier League.

Still, Arteta ought to think twice before making the youngster such a vital part of his starting XI.

He should listen to what Wright has said here and take it on board.

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