Bukayo Saka rejects any suggestion he should be complaining about the number of minutes he played over the international break.

England's midfielder Bukayo Saka (L) and Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne fight for the ball during the UEFA Nations League football match between Belgium and England, on November 15, 2020 at Den Dreef stadium in Louvain. (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
England’s midfielder Bukayo Saka (L) and Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne fight for the ball on November 15, 2020. (Photo by VIRGINIE LEFOUR/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Over the international break, Bukayo Saka made two starts and played 52 minutes in a third game as a first-half substitute. There was no time to rest for the player in double figures for Arsenal starts already this season.

Some started to ask the question about whether the academy graduate is playing too much at the moment, but Saka is pushing back against that belief.

“It’s a lot of minutes but as a kid, this is what you dream of,” Saka said. “So I can’t now turn around and say I don’t want to play it because I am living my dream, playing for England.

“I played all three games – who’d have thought I would do that? So I’m not going to complain. I just have to trust the people in charge will manage me in the correct way and continue to help me thrive and progress as a player.”

In fairness, I agree with Saka that it’s not up to him to complain about extra minutes. As he says, he just needs to trust that the people in charge know what they’re doing in their handling of him.

He’s a 19-year-old going through all of this for the first time. He’s never had to deal with playing multiple matches in a week before going away on international duty to play another three in seven days. How should he know when he has to take a break?

If the teenager ends up with an injury from being overplayed, it will be entirely on Mikel Arteta and Gareth Southgate. They’re the ones in charge here, so it’s their call to make.

Personally, I’d say they are overplaying him right now, but I’m no expert either. Time will tell.