After Arsenal topped their Europa League group on Tuesday, Freddie Ljungberg joked that Bukayo Saka wasn’t too happy with him pre-game.
Bukayo Saka was the star for Arsenal as they scraped top spot late on against Standard Liege on Thursday, with Freddie Ljungberg taking charge of his first European fixture.
Though a late goal for Vitoria meant the Gunners didn’t need a result in Belgium, they didn’t know that and Saka took his goal and assist expertly.
The night didn’t start so promisingly for the youngster though. Naturally a winger, Ljungberg asked Saka to play at wing-back after Kieran Tierney’s injury. In fact, the 18-year-old ended up at full-back late in the game.
Ljungberg admitted afterwards that it wasn’t ideal for the teenager.
“I think he was a bit upset with me before the game that he had to play wing-back and then full-back,” Ljungberg said. “Because he doesn’t like it so much.
“But no, he’s a tremendous talent and you could see it here again. His final ball and the last bit is always effective and there’s always an end product to his work. He was amazing.”
Saka got a chance in the first team this season following a fantastic campaign under Freddie Ljungberg last year. The winger scored 14 times, assisted 10 goals and won three penalties. To end up at full-back obviously isn’t ideal.
Still, it was what the team needed on the night. With only Sead Kolasinac available at left-back for the rest of the month, Ljungberg may have to call on Saka in the position again before the year is over.