Interview

Arteta - Why I love working with Saka

Bukayo Saka willingness to learn makes him a coach's dream, according to Mikel Arteta.

The 18-year-old was thrown into a new role at left back when he replaced the injured Sead Kolasinac against Manchester City, and the absence of Kieran Tierney means he's now played the last four games in the back four.

Saka rose through our academy ranks as an attacking player - and has two first-team goals to his name this season - but he's had to rein in those instincts and develop the defensive game of his game.

Arteta says that Saka's attitude has been spot-on. "He's learning that you are able to adapt and that you are able to sacrifice for the team, and [you learn that you] don't use excuses," he said.

"If you are moved, to say ‘OK, now if I do not play good, I have the right excuse because this is not my position’. It’s the complete opposite, try to learn, try to pick things up straight away and try to be more productive for the team, and I think he [Saka] has done it really, really well.

"Those game moments, you have to read them and when you play more games and you become more mature, you start to make better decisions all the time because you can sniff where the danger is, depending on the result, how many minutes are played and what happened in the last two actions. And we have to help him to do that.

"I love working with young players," added Arteta. "The last few years I worked with so many of them and it’s so fulfilling when they are willing and they ask the right questions, and they want more and they are eager to learn. 

"It’s incredible because when that [development] really happens, afterwards, for them, it’s very inspirational."

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