Mikel Arteta says Sead Kolasinac passed himself fit ahead of schedule to help the team, calling the defender’s effort ‘incredible’.
Going into Arsenal’s match against Manchester United on Wednesday, Mikel Arteta had a big problem at left-back. With Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac out, Bukayo Saka filled in for the last three-and-a-half games, but he’d run himself into the ground by the end of the Chelsea match.
Someone else needed to start against Manchester United.
Kolasinac was waiting for the Leeds United FA Cup match to make his comeback, or possibly even later. When he saw the team needed him though, he made himself available early. Arteta explained the situation after Wednesday’s match.
“I said to him ‘thank you so much’ because today we had Bukayo who wasn’t feeling good,” Arteta explained. “He (Kolasinac) wasn’t ready to play. He was expecting to start maybe Leeds or after Leeds and he made an incredible effort.
“Yesterday, he came to me and said ‘boss, if you want, I can play’. So we decided to play him and that is the attitude of the players that I want. He got rewarded. He made an effort, he put himself on the line and he had a great performance.”
Show of commitment
It’s exactly the sort of story you want to hear coming from the squad. A player risking their own individual fortunes for the team, securing a win where otherwise they might have struggled.
It’s not the first time Kolasinac has shown up when initially he didn’t even expect to play.
The 26-year-old had a similar situation in December, only travelling to West Ham as the 19th man, before an injury in the warm-up put him on the bench, and he then came off it to assist the equaliser.
It shows great commitment from the left-back, regardless of the circumstances.