Press conference

'The big thing is the personality Saka plays with'

No one will ever forget 2020 for many different reasons, but for Bukayo Saka it has been the year he announced himself on the world stage.

Our teenage forward has made huge strides over the past 12 months and his impressive performances have even seen him win his first England caps.


"For me the biggest thing he has done in the last few months is the personality he plays with and the responsibility he takes in the decisions he is willing to take when things are not going well, and the impact he has had for the team to get results," Mikel Arteta said.


"At that age, it is not common at all. But that is his nature, and he wants to evolve that - you could see that his team-mates trust him and want to give him that responsibility, and that’s great because then you don’t have one or two players, you have more players.


"He is a great example as well, for any young player to play with that commitment, that passion, and that courage, when you play for a big team."


So what are Arteta's hopes for our youngsters in 2021?


"We know that our club has a history of bringing players through the academy and it's in our DNA," he said. "We want to keep doing it and I think I've done it since the day I came through that door. But they need the right process, they need the right players around them and you have to respect the timing of their development.


"There is nothing worse than rushing those players when they are not ready. If they are ready and they respond, then keep doing it. You don't have to hold them back because you know their energy, their passion and what they want to do. They can run and sprint and do whatever they want, but they need [experienced players] as well.


"Eleven kids is impossible. When you have the right mixture then these kids start to become more senior players and they start to have a little bit more experience and they are in a good development phase, let's go for it. But you have to be cautious as well."


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