Mikel Arteta has spoken to Gareth Southgate about managing Bukayo Saka’s fitness, amid the possibility he makes next week’s Euro 2020 squad.
With the club season now at its end, all focus for the players and the fans will turn to this summer’s international competitions. For the European players, that means the European Championships.
So far, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka, and Bernd Leno have all been called up, but Bukayo Saka will hope to join them when Gareth Southgate names his England squad next week.
The fear from Arsenal fans is that Saka will experience burnout. The 19-year-old has now made over 50 appearances for club and country this season, a campaign which started so soon after the conclusion of the last.
Mikel Arteta says he’s aware of the issue and has held conversations with Southgate about it.
“There is a risk,” Arteta said. “I think the schedule that they have been through in the last two years has been crazy.
“He (Saka) has handled that situation really, really well. I know Gareth and he has been brilliant at managing them as well, and I spoke with him about it.
“We just hope that they do the right thing. But he is very determined to go and help his country, which is incredible at his age, and he needs to enjoy that because he has earned every right to be there. So, enjoy it and things would happen.”
It would certainly be unfair to deny Saka the chance to join his country at a major international tournament for the first time in his career purely because he’s given everything to help his club in a tough period this season.
If anything, Saka deserves the reward of joining England’s best at the event. You’d hope that since he’s one of the fringe members of the squad at this stage, he wouldn’t be forced to play every game anyway.
First things first, we await Southgate’s squad decision. That will be made public on Tuesday, 25th May at 13:00 BST.