Mikel Arteta has concerns over Saka playing time at Arsenal despite success

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has expressed concerns over Bukayo Saka.

The Spaniard has been open in the past about his reluctance to hand his young players too much playing time as they continue to develop – but that has been taken out of his hands this week.

Saka featured in all three games over the international break following the injury to Ben Chilwell, which could mean that he is rested as the Gunners take on Leeds on Sunday.

Arteta has since offered his thoughts on Gareth Southgate’s decision making in starting Saka.

“Well, I’ll have to see today when he comes back how he’s looking and how he’s feeling,” Arteta said when asked if the left-sided star will play this weekend.

“Obviously, he’s a 19-year-old kid and he’s played a lot of football in the last few months and we have to protect him.

“I understand from Gareth [Southgate]’s point of view as well, he had the injury of [Ben] Chilwell and he probably didn’t plan to give him that many minutes but the circumstances forced him to do it.

“From my side, it’s not ideal, but if I was in Gareth’s shoes, I would have done exactly the same.

“It is what it is, let’s see how he comes back and try to get him fit and recovered and see how he is for Sunday.”

Saka had told the Independent when asked about his playing time: “It’s a lot of minutes but as a kid this is what you dream of.

“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.”

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