Mikel Arteta has praised Bukayo Saka for the “commitment” and “courage” he has shown during a difficult period for Arsenal.
Saka produced his second man-of-the-match display in four days as Arsenal followed up their 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day with a hard-fought win against Brighton on Tuesday.
The academy product, who scored Arsenal’s third goal against Chelsea to help end a run of seven Premier League games without a win, provided the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s winner at the Amex Stadium and caused Brighton problems throughout, further underlining his status as one of the country’s best young players.
Since the start of last season, Saka has registered 15 assists in all competitions for Arsenal, more than any other player for the club, and Arteta has been impressed with the 19-year-old’s influence.
“For me, the biggest thing that he’s done in the past few months is the personality that he plays with and the responsibility he takes,” the Arsenal boss said ahead of his side’s trip to West Brom in the Premier League on Saturday.
“Also the decisions he’s willing to make when things are not going well and the impact he’s had on the team to get results. That’s in his nature and he wants to evolve that.
“You can see his team-mates trust him, they still want to give him that responsibility and that’s great. He’s a great example to any young player to play with that commitment, that passion but as well, with that courage you need when you play for a big team.”
Saka was substituted late on against Brighton after appearing to injure his ankle, but Arteta is confident he will be fit when his side travel to The Hawthorns.
“I hope he’s available. We will see with training today. He’s played a lot of minutes as well. I am confident that he will be OK for the game,” Arteta added.