Bukayo Saka has issued a warning to his Premier League opponents after admitting that he is much’smarter and stronger’ now than he was previously as he strives to improve.
This season, the Arsenal star has 11 goals and nine assists in all competitions, proving to be the club’s talisman once again.
There have been some concerns about Saka suffering potential injuries due to the number of times he is fouled, with Arsenal full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko urging referees to provide him with more protection. The England international has downplayed such talk after admitting that wingers are frequently kicked by opposing defenders.
Saka has set himself lofty goals as he strives to improve his game in order to help his boyhood club challenge for the Premier League title and in cup competitions. Mikel Arteta has been instrumental in Saka’s development at the Emirates Stadium, with the 21-year-old explaining how his manager helps him improve.
Saka explained how Arteta wants him to receive possession in less congested areas, allowing him to quickly escape defenders’ attention. In an interview with the Evening Standard, the Hale End graduate stated: “He’s referring to the type of balls I get.
“If you receive the ball on the touchline with your back to the defender, I’d do the same as a winger: come in straight and fast, close..
Naturally, there will be a great deal of pressure and contact.
“I believe he is referring to the type of balls where I don’t have much room to maneuver and the defender can close me down quickly and aggressively.
Saka set himself the goal of improving on his 19 goal contributions from last season at the start of the season, but he refused to provide specifics on what he hopes to achieve on a personal level this season. “I’m not going to say [whether or not I’m close], but no, I haven’t hit them yet,” he added.
“I’ve grown up a lot in football and in life.
I’d say I’m a much better player now than I was when I made my debut.
I’m also a much better player. I’m stronger, and I feel like I’ve had to deal with a lot, different pressure situations, and it’s made me more mature and understand how to deal with it again.
“I don’t speak to myself. I simply see myself as constantly striving to improve.
“No matter the age, I still want to improve and I still have a lot to improve. I just want to keep improving and delivering outstanding performances every week. That is the standard I have set for myself.”
Saka is one of the Premier League’s most dangerous attackers, and at the age of just 21, he still has a lot of potential. The contract of the England international is set to expire next summer, but the club is confident Saka will sign a new long-term deal and commit his future to the Gunners.