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).
Fantastic player and a gooner!
Glad we have other options up front now, we need to protect him over the (hopefully) long career he has with us.
He seems to have an incredible engine. I do hope if we are cruising at any points against sporting, palace or Leeds, Arteta will sub him and he can get as much rest as possible. He is gonna be massive for us in the big away games coming up. If we have fit squad I am very confident we will beat City at their ground.
Saka has certainly earned a rest.
Even god had a rest on the seventh day.
You’d be amazed how heavily unionised deities are.
Your post reminded me of this dancefloor banger from my youth.
Buddha, on the other hand, won’t strike.
Probably gonna get downvoted to the hills for this, but if Jesus is to soon reclaim his position as our striker (Palace too soon?) then I’d be tempted to play Trossard on the right just to give Saka a bit of a breather… Week in, week out he’s pretty much the first name on the teamsheet: Prem, Europe, I think he even played in the cup games but could be mistaken. Anyway, the boy needs a rest and you just know Southgate will play him in the 2 interlull games (although hopefully Arteta has a quiet word in his ears… Read more »
I wouldn’t disagree with that. We can’t burn him out, we saw what happened to Jack
Jack Wilshere. My favorite player of all time. Super, brave Jackie. The Premier League has taken away some of the best talents world football has seen with its leniency towards talentless brutes.
Jack, Diaby, Eduardo.
Hopefully Saka gets better protection. I would love to hear Arteta be vocal about it. Saka is a strong boy, but we should not be taking chances.
Speaking of favorites, Marinelli is my favorite before him it was Iwobi before then Coquelin. I tend to gravitates towards players who are seen to be punching above their station.
Don’t think Martinelli fails into said category?
Not sure Klopp (or other top coach) ever labelled Iwobi or Coq as „talent of the century”.
Fair enough. But he’s not as smooth as Saka but im not complaining!
His levels seem to be dropping a bit, should probably rest him now.
We managed in the last couple of games without a huge contribution from him.
I tell myself that he is saving his energy in the days where the goals come from elsewhere. Once we get to 65 min and need a goal I look for him.
Picking from the two games before interlull, I’d prefer resting him for the Sporting one.
Agreed. This kid has been fighting for the club since he was 18. For me he was the spark that started the resurgence of the club. The rest was built from there.
I hope someone is listening when he says he will just lock himself in his room and sleep this summer. That’s a kid telling you he’s tired.
I happen to think he’s the best English player in the league. Playing him into the ground doesn’t help anyone on the long run.
What an unbelievable guys he is. Humble, extremely talented and hard working We were kidding ourselves with players like Pepe, Kolasinac, Bellerin, mustafi and the Greek defender weren’t we?
Pepe is a talented player. It just didn’t work out.
Pepe is great, just not great for Arsenal’s system and what we needed him to do. Kola and Sokratis were perfectly serviceable professional footballers, but not at the level we expect for Arsenal. Bellerin was done in by injury, but was phenomenal when fit. Mustafi was a cruel, cruel prank on us, and I’m still searching for the person responsible.
He’s in the woods.
He’ll be there for a good while.
Great technique. Didn’t seem to apply himself too hard. Almost felt that he’s arrived once we signed him, I think.
Subtext is that he is tired and somewhat beat up.
However, his faith, his gratitude and his professionalism keeps driving him to play 100% and excel.
Bravo young man!
Bruno Fernandes is a [email protected]#&ng idiot. Just felt the need to highlight it again.
On 1st thought, that strikes me as a bit gratuitous.
On 2nd thought, top post!
An important reminder, keep the fire burning strong. Thank you for this.
Grade A bellend without a doubt
I am not complaining but for some reason, I miss the Saka on LW. Running while protecting the ball was much easier and his pin point crossing could easily have been KDB and Trent’s level.
When Saka ends up central he can find a great pass and would like to see him there more often. As a change from being faced by a couple of Neanderthals doubling up on him every week.
When you factor in those wild sprints to challenge the referee or linesman’s decisions, the energy consumed my throwing up his arms in despair 50+ times per game, and the general weight of carrying a face stolen from an unhappy ferret on his shoulders, all in all Bruno Fernandes must be fucking knackered.
You’re making me have sympathy for that perpetual irritant.
What are you doing?
It is crystal clear now why old Burnot spending so much time on the ground. He is so tired.
I dont know how the opposition are getting away with kicking our Star Boy all over the place. I’m hoping he’ll be made England captain, so that he starts to get the level of protection afforded to Kane.
Ever since he sent that tweet that said ‘You Arsenal fans deserve better’ I genuinely don’t think he’s ever let us down. He is the blueprint of how you should behave, as a player, and as a man. I love that boy
One of the key reasons I started, as an American, following the Arsenal nearly twenty years ago was the class of the club. Like the way Arsene would hang around after an FA Cup tie to lower league opposition to give some advice to that club’s manager. The club’s vocal (and financial) support to the local children’s hospital. Keeping Per on in an academy role. It’s just a classy club.
I guess it’s no surprise that an academy product personifies that class, but I swear every time Bukayo talks, I love him even more. Splendid young man.
That’s the attitude lad!
Bukayo seems well grounded and appreciative of achieving his dream, that he’s worked hard for.
He’s definitely earned 3 months of sleep in the summer
…cuddling a nice, shiny league trophy.
Saka is so humble and grounded.
A good lad.
Now sign that contract please…
“the 345th highest in the world this season while his appearance tally (42) ranks 107th”
I’m not sure how I. Shoukd feel about this… I thought it’d be higher then shocked that’s its not that bad.
Most teams don’t tinker with their defence line, particularly their keepers and centre backs. This explains why it’s not as high as expected.
Real bench mark should be how he compares with wingers because they tend to run harder and faster and get subbed off sooner.
To be fair those numbers are a bit inflated if you compare against “the world” since Transfermarkt stats don’t include Brazilian teams, which play twice a week for most of the year. Palmeiras, for example, played 74 games in 2022.
Such a great player and wholesome young man.
A few Sky News Graham Potter pressers and a mug of Ovaltine and he’ll sleep forever….
Love that boy
I’d rather have someone more reliable to take care of Saka’s health than god.. 😀
Of course, if opponents set up to stop Saka influencing the game on our right flank, they have to leave a gap elsewhere, and we got our goals and most of our chances down the other flank against Fulham. We’ve developed the flexibility to do that, especially with the signing of Trossard and his interplay with Martinelli. If the threat comes right across our front line, there will be less of an option to double up on Saka, and he’ll be back in form. He could still do with a rest, though.
Is there a video of this ESPN interview anywhere?