Mikel Arteta confident Bukayo Saka can get ‘much better’ as he backs Arsenal star to live up to expectations

Saka is having a brilliant season for club and country, helping Arsenal climb to the top of the league table Premier League and impressive for England at the World Cup.

The winger is only 21 and Arteta believes he can get even better as there are still areas for improvement in his game.

All eyes are on Saka as the business end of the season kicks off this weekend, with Arsenal facing Leeds in the first of their last 10 games, but Arteta says he can handle the hype.

“He does it in a very natural way,” Arteta said. “And he also had moments when it was the other way around.

“He will have to deal with that, with the expectations of the media, with attention on the pitch.

“If you want to play a role like the one he has now, you have to be able to do it. We have to help him. So don’t read too much, don’t listen too much, just focus on what you have to do every day.

“We don’t know if he is aware of that (all attention). We don’t know how much he reads, how much we let him read and listen. And we always have a stick ready, don’t worry.

“He’s so humble, he’s very intelligent. He knows where this comes from and he knows it’s like a cloud, just here and gone tomorrow.

“So keep moving in the right direction, make sure the sun is hitting you at the right time and have the right energy. Keep your eyes open and be alert, because this industry is tough.”

Saka has been directly involved in 23 goals in his last 34 appearances for club and country, scoring one and assisting another England won 2-0 against Ukraine on Sunday.

Bukayo Saka scored a brilliant goal for England against Ukraine at Wembley

/ The FA via Getty Images

He is the first Arsenal player to score double figures for both goals and assists in a Premier League campaign since Alexis Sánchez in 2016-17, and the only player to do so in the league this season.

But Arteta said: “He still has a lot of things to improve on and a lot of things to keep that he has been able to achieve six or seven months into a game.

“He couldn’t do that before. So he has to continue to maintain those things and raise the level of other things that he can do even better.

“I’m a very young coach, but I’ve talked to coaches who have been in different sports sometimes for 50 years and one day I asked them one question: ‘Have you ever coached a player who, in your opinion, has his potential? fulfilled?’ And the answer from all five was no.

“And you’re talking about Michael Jordan and people like that – they can still get better.

“So everyone can get better, an athlete can always improve, there are areas that can always improve and if that’s the case, Bukayo can do a lot of things even better.”