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Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is making himself the benchmark for his peers

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

There are many young players who come into the first-team and provide some exciting early signs, but it’s staying in the manager’s plans that can be the difficult part.

The early signs suggest that 18-year-old Arsenal academy product Bukayo Saka is managing to do just that with Unai Emery.

His big performance this season came in the Europa League, when his goal from a brilliant strike taken outside the box was sandwiched between assists, ensuring that Arsenal left Germany with three points.

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While it would have been easy for the teenager to fade into the background after this, he went on to play a half against Aston Villa just three days later.

That was then followed up by 80 minutes against Manchester United, in which he assisted Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as the Gunners went on their way to a 1-1 draw.

He has been helped by injuries at times, but the teenager has so far defied any suggestion that he could be phased out and placed back in the shadows, even with £72m summer signing Nicolas Pepe playing in the same position as him.

This attitude is displayed by his comments, quoted by, when Alexandre Lacazette returned from injury: “The boss knows what I can do, what the other players can do. Different games require different players but I feel like I’ve shown the boss he can trust me. Whatever game he puts me in I’ll always give it my all.

“The boss has really trusted me and put a lot of faith in me. I just try to work hard in training every day, he has given me the opportunity to work in this team. I’ve learned so much from the other players and it’s showing on the pitch.”

Can Bukayo Saka make 10 league starts this season?





This is the type of attitude that his peers from the academy must adopt if they are to take their place in the first-team on a long-term basis.

Saka plays in a position where competition is intense due to the collection of exciting talent who play in  a similar role, yet he is making sure that Emery continues to take notice of him.

He is not a regular yet, but at 18-years-old, Saka is getting plenty of involvement and Arsenal’s youngsters should look at his achievements and aim to emulate them.

Article title: Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is making himself the benchmark for his peers

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