Mikel Arteta wants Bukayo Saka to have the desire to play every game at Arsenal

Mikel Arteta is refusing to rest Bukayo Saka this season – and wants the Arsenal striker to ask to play every week.

Saka missed just 179 minutes of Arsenal’s games this season before their 1-0 win over PSV Eindhoven. Saka was impressed when Granit Xhaka scored the only goal of the match.

Arsenal have now reached the knockout stages of the Europa League.

The 21-year-old fell injured just after Xhaka’s goal, worrying both Arsenal and England, who kicked off their World Cup campaigns in little more than a month.

But even with that injury risk, Arteta insisted he had no problem picking Saka whenever he could.

He said: “Look at the best players in the world, they play 70 matches, every three days and they make the difference and win the match.

“You want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that. And if we start to put something different in the mind of a young player, I think we are making a huge mistake because at that time [he would] Being like “No, I’m not playing now, on Astroturf I’m not playing”.

“I don’t want that. I want them to be tough every three days. I want them to knock on my door (saying) ‘I want to play, I want to win the game.'”

“No fitness coach in the world will tell me they can’t do it, because I’ve seen it. 72 games and 50 goals.

“Players who score 50 goals don’t play 38 games a season, that’s impossible.”

Arteta gave an optimistic view about Saka’s injury. “Yeah, he got a kick,” he said, “he was a little limp, but I hope he’s okay.”

Arsenal face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday.


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(Photo: Mark Atkins/Getty Images)


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