Arsenal invincible slams Mikel Arteta for his use of Bukayo Saka, admits he is ‘worried’ about sensation’s recent injury issues

Arsenal icon Freddie Ljungberg (R) with Bukayo Saka.

FOOTBALL Arsenal invincible slams Mikel Arteta for his use of Bukayo Saka, admits he is ‘worried’ about sensation’s recent injury issues

Mark Kinyanjui 19:45 - 05.10.2023

Ljungberg promoted Bukayo Saka to his u23s set up in 2018, and is the one who recommended then-head coach Unai Emery to promote Saka to the first team.

Former Arsenal interim coach Freddie Ljungberg has slammed Mikel Arteta for his use of Bukayo Saka, revealing he is ‘worried’ ahead of the visit of Manchester City.

Saka limped off during their 2-1 loss to Lens in the Champions League during the week after he felt a niggle in his hamstring.

Arteta also took him off against Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur after he took a heavy knock. The injury would even keep the 30-cap England ace out of their Carabao Cup win at Brentford

Last Saturday, Cherries left-back Milos Kerkez accidentally stood on Saka’s foot during the Gunners’ win at Dean Court. The issue did not prove to be a long-term issue and the winger returned to start at RC Lens. But Saka would then go off after just 34 minutes after sensing a hamstring injury.

“Looking at this makes all the Arsenal fans a little bit worried,” Ljungberg told CBS Sports, after Saka’s injury. “He was touching the back of his hamstring,” he added.

“I have been a little bit like, ‘Rest him a little bit’. I felt he’s played a bit too much. He’s still young and you say they can run as much as they can when they’re young. Rest him.

“He’s the most important player, give him a break sometimes. I’m a bit worried for Arsenal at the weekend and how they’re going to play without him.”

Saka made his senior debut for the north London club in 2018 after coming through the Hale End academy, where he was coached by Freddie Ljungberg, who called him up to the Under-23s squad.

In 2021, Ljungberg explained how the club nearly made a mistake with Saka by not letting him make the step up from the U18s to the U23s because they didn't think he was ready. 

Ljungberg told the Coaches Voice: "Bukayo, I had him when he was 15, I think. We try to help players so they can get a career, especially as a youth coach, even if you win things and stuff - that's not important, the important thing is for me to teach him certain things, stepping stones so he will be ready for the first team.

"Bukayo did all the work himself, he worked hard, he was a very good professional and when I had the 23s at Arsenal, I said that I was going to take Bukayo to the U23s and I got: 'No, he's playing with the U18s, he's not ready'.

"I said, 'no, there's no chance, if I'm the boss of this team, he's coming to train with me and I'll show he can play'. Sometimes as a coach, you have to have those discussions when people don't agree with you.

"Bukayo has shown all the time what he can do and his decision making and how he does things, it's always been good. It's not just about his size, or how powerful he is when he's young, if he can do those things, the crosses at the right time, hits the right person, dribbles at the right time - trying to learn these fundamentals. That, for me, was important.

"You could see that from a young age, even if he was strong and stuff like that. It feels so nice to see him getting better."