Mikel Arteta gives verdict on Bukayo Saka’s new Arsenal role

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he is pleased with Bukayo Saka's performances as a makeshift left-back

Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media / Screengrab)
Mikel Arteta (Photo: Arsenal Media / Screengrab)

Mikel Arteta has praised Bukayo Saka’s attitude as the Arsenal youngster continues to be deployed as a makeshift left-back.

The 18-year-old has been required to drop back into a deeper role over the past few weeks to provide much-needed cover for Arsenal at left-back.

Saka’s natural position is as a left winger but the teenager has been asked to fill in at full-back in the absence of Kieran Tierney and Sead Kolasinac.

The Arsenal number 77 helped the north London side to ease to a 2-1 win against Bournemouth in the FA Cup fourth round at the Vitality Stadium on Monday.

Saka broke the deadlock in the sixth minute before he teed up Eddie Nketiah to double the away side’s lead 20 minutes later.

Speaking about Saka’s performance as a makeshift left-back in the FA Cup tie, Arteta told his post-match media conference at The Emirates:

“It is the situation now because we don’t have any left backs at the moment.

“What I like is that he’s put his head down, it’s not his favourite position to play, but we try to adapt him with his qualities to play him as much as possible in the position that he likes.

“But then he is very willing to learn all the defensive principals that we are asking him to do and his attitude is really good.”

The Gunners teenager has shown glimpses of his talent in more advanced roles in the current campaign under Arteta’s predecessor Unai Emery.

His best performance of the 2019-20 came in a 3-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt, when he scored and made two assists in Germany.

Saka has scored two goals in 17 appearances in all competitions in the current campaign.

Arsenal will take on Portsmouth in the FA Cup fifth round on the south coast.

The Gunners will return to Premier League action with a trip to Burnley in the Premier League on Sunday.

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