‘He’s a very intelligent boy’: Robert Pires raves about Arsenal star

Robert Pires singles out Bukayo Saka for special praise following his good form for Arsenal this season

Robert Pires
Robert Pires (Photo: Tag Heuer)

Robert Pires has lavished praise on Bukayo Saka following his excellent recent form for Arsenal.

The 20-year-old has firmly established himself as one of the north London club’s most important players this season following a sparkling run of form in Mikel Arteta’s side.

Saka has featured in all 28 of Arsenal’s Premier League games this season and has been a driving force behind his team’s challenge for Champions League qualification via a top-four finish.

The attacker has scored 10 goals and made five assists in all competitions for the Gunners, including the winner in the 1-0 triumph at Aston Villa last time out.

Former Arsenal winger Pires has now spoken of his admiration for the Gunners youth product, describing him as a “quality” player and praising him for his “intelligence”.

Speaking in an interview with FourFourTwo, Pires said: “We’ve all seen his quality. I’m not surprised by his career.

“I’m in contact with him and we chat from time to time. He asks me for advice, and he’s a very intelligent boy.

“Saka, [Emile] Smith Rowe, [Gabriel] Martinelli… they’re all important players I really like. It’s the same with Aaron Ramsdale.

“Together, they represent the future of Arsenal and must grow alongside more experienced players like [Granit] Xhaka, Gabriel or [Thomas] Partey. That mix was hard to put together, but Mikel Arteta has finally found the right formula.”

The England winger withdrew from international duty last month after testing positive for Covid-19.

However, Gunners boss Arteta is hopeful that Saka will be able to make himself available for selection for when they travel to Crystal Palace on Monday night.

Asked about Saka’s fitness at his pre-match news conference on Thursday, Arteta said: “I don’t know how much he would have played [for England].

“Sometimes when a player is in a good moment you don’t want to stop it. It’s what it is, he had Covid and we had to take him out of the national team, he had some if time to rest and to recover, but he will be training in the next few days to again hit the form he was in.”

Arsenal have not finished in the top four since 2016, when they came second under Arsene Wenger.

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