You won’t catch Bukayo Saka complaining about his lot in life but he admits a long sleep awaits him in the summer when this season’s hectic schedule is done and dusted.
Since last August, the winger has featured 36 times for the Gunners across all competitions (excluding friendlies) and also has six England games under his belt, including four at the World Cup.
In total, he’s already logged in excess of 3,200 minutes* and there’s the potential for 19 further games before the end of May for club and country.
Throw into the mix the fact he’s regularly singled out for roughhouse treatment from opponents and you can understand why the 21-year-old is looking forward to some time off.
Facing questions from ESPN at the London Football Awards, where he was voted Young Player of the Year for the second time, Saka was asked how fresh he is feeling for the run-in.
He said: “I’d say mentally, I’m just happy to be on the pitch. If I put it to you this way, would I rather be injured or on the pitch? I want to be on the pitch.
“If I ask myself when I was younger where I would want to be, and it was on the pitch playing for Arsenal every week competing at the highest level, I’d take it.
“So, I’m happy. I just want to continue to push to the end of the season and then in the summer I can lock myself in my room and sleep for the rest of the summer.”
He added: “I just try to be as professional as possible, take care of myself – eat the best, sleep as much as I can.
“When I’m in training learn as much as I can and in the games just play 100%. I leave the rest in God’s hands.
“God’s been taking care of me. Some tackles, I could have been lucky but I wouldn’t call it luck. I believe in God and he’s taking care of me.
“I’ve just been staying fit and hopefully I can continue doing my best for Arsenal on the pitch so we can have some happiness at the end of the season now.”
Head to ESPN to read the rest of James Olley’s interview which includes Saka reflecting on the kicks he gets.
Interview with Bukayo Saka after his win at the 2023 London Football Awards.
– why he won’t complain about treatment from opponents
– how he’s trying to modify his game
– lasting the pace in another long season. https://t.co/2tR1Bj4f1E
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) March 14, 2023
*Transfermarkt rank Saka’s minutes (3,208) as the 345th highest in the world this season while his appearance tally (42) ranks 107th. For context, Bruno Fernandes leads the way with 49 appearances (1st) and 4,252 minutes (2nd).