'How Bukayo has united people is very powerful'

It's been a difficult week for Bukayo Saka - but Mikel Arteta says the teenage forward should take great heart in the way that he has united people.

The 19-year-old has received messages of support from throughout the club after the penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy, and his manager is certain he will come out of the experience stronger.

"He's fine," Arteta told Arsenal Media. "Obviously he had some tough days after what happened in the final but I think you have to look at the whole picture. 

"This kid, at 19 years old, has played almost every game in the Premier League. He was our Player of the Season, I think he has earned the respect and admiration of everyone at the football club. But not only that, he's gone to an international stage, he started the European competition with an injury and still he has managed to be in the starting XI. 

"He reached the final and he couldn't lift that trophy but I think he has a much bigger trophy than that, and that's that now he really knows that in good and bad moments, everybody at the club, every Arsenal fan and every English fan is right behind him. 

"He has earned that with his behaviour, his talent and with the way he is. That's going to be there for the rest of his life. A trophy is there in the wardrobe and then you have to be the man in the next one. But what he has achieved and how he has united people is very powerful and he should be really, really proud of that."

Arteta says that seeing Saka sparkle on the international stage came as no surprise to him, and he says the challenge for him now is to go to the next level.

"I spoke to Gareth before the tournament and we all shared the same opinion on B: that this kid is going to push everybody there, just the way he trains, the way he is, the way he competes," he said. 

"The maturity that he has shown at his age is pretty special, I have not seen many of those [with it] - and now he is going to have to cope with other things over the next year, it is going to be about expectations. 

"Can he do it again? Can he raise his game again, can he improve, can he keep making better decisions, be more consistent, start to win more regularly? That is the thing that he needs to do that at this very early stage in his career."

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