Mikel Arteta says he’s not worried about the hype surrounding Bukayo Saka and told the youngster to enjoy his moment in the limelight.
The 18-year-old has been one of Arsenal’s most consistent performers this season, shining in a side that has struggled to get out of second gear at times.
When he extended his contract at the Emirates – turning down a host of high profile suitors in the process – the announcement was given the type of fanfare usually reserved for a big-money superstar.
Since then there’s even been talk of an England call-up. Is Arteta worried about the attention being lavished on the teenager? From what he’s seen there’s nothing to worry about.
“First of all, enjoy the moment,” was the boss’ advice. “Football has some really good moments and some difficult moments.
“First, enjoy the moment when you’re doing so well. Enjoy it! But then understand that this can change in 24 to 48 hours and you have to live on your toes all the time, ready to react and act.
“Bukayo is like this. Every training session, he doesn’t give you any sign that he’s being different.
“Your performance is a collective thing and you need everything around you to work. There are going to be moments when things are a little bit up and down.
“It’s normal, it happens to every single player whether you are 18 or 38. He just needs to understand that, take it naturally and we are to support him, to try to make him better and that’s it, enjoy.”
You sense Arteta’s words aren’t just directed at Saka. When he joined the club in December he was keen to lift the morale of a damaged dressing room and to make it clear to his players that they were living a privileged existence at a top club and that they should appreciate what they have.
While we continue to have ups and downs on the pitch, the squad looks to be a happier collective, even if a couple of individuals have found themselves on the other side of the velvet rope.