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Football Reporting


Saka responds to claims he is ‘carrying Arsenal’ at the age of 19

The talented teenager has become a key part of the Gunners’ plans for the present and future, but he is eager to avoid any added pressure

Bukayo Saka has refuted suggestions that he is “carrying Arsenal”, with the 19-year-old eager to point out that football remains “a team sport” and he needs assistance.

The home-grown part of immediate and long-term plans at Emirates Stadium is taking on ever-increasing levels of responsibility despite his tender years.

Saka is well regarded at Arsenal with a new contract coming his way, but the England international is eager to avoid any more pressure on his young shoulders.

What has been said?

Saka has told Standard Sport of his role with the Gunners: “I don’t feel pressure from external voices. I’ve always wanted to have the courage to play, to be the one that’s visible when everyone’s heads are down.

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“I don’t think that I’m the player that’s carrying Arsenal. In football, it is 11 men. I don’t think that I can do anything just by myself. It’s a team sport.”

Why did Saka sign a new contract?

The 2020-21 campaign has been another inconsistent one for Arsenal, currently 10th in the Premier League.

Saka is, however, among those to have penned fresh terms – with Folarin Balogun recently doing likewise – and the teenager is happy with his decision to commit to the Gunners.

He added on signing a long-term deal to 2024: “For me, it was just to think about what was best for my career and I felt what was best for my career was to continue playing with Arsenal.”

The bigger picture

Saka clearly believes that his ambition can be matched by Arsenal with Mikel Arteta’s side trying to chase down major silverware this season.

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They are through to the semi-finals of the Europa League, where a meeting with Villarreal awaits, and confidence is high in the Gunners camp.

Saka added: “It would mean everything, to me, to the fans, to the club and of course it would mean a return back to the Champions League next season. It’s every kid’s dream to play in the Champions League and play in the biggest matches of your career.”

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