Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta to warn England that Bukayo Saka 'needs a break' this summer

Gunners attacker has played close to 50 games for club and country during season

Bukayo Saka has scored 12 goals in 42 games for Arsenal this season. EPA
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has said that he will be talking to England about the need for Bukayo Saka to take a break this summer.

The 20-year-old attacker will have played close to 50 games in what has been a busy campaign for club and country after the Premier League season reaches its conclusion on Sunday.

Arsenal are at home to Everton in their final game needing to win and for north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to lose at Norwich City if they want to snatch an unlikely fourth-place finish and the Champions League spot that comes with it.

Saka has played 42 games for Arsenal alone, scoring 12 goals along the way, and Arteta is in no doubt his young attacker will need time off to recharge his batteries.

“He needs a break, that is for sure. He has played a lot of minutes this season and he played a lot of minutes last season,” Arteta said.

“You expect your important players to do so, to have that ability and show the quality that Bukayo has shown consistently throughout the season.

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“But obviously you have to bear in mind that at some stage he needs to rest. That is something we really need to think about, the plans for him in the summer.”

Ahead of the World Cup finals in Qatar later this year, England face four Uefa Nations League games in June – two against Hungary and one each against Italy and Germany.

Asked whether he would be addressing the issue with Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate, Arteta added: “Yes. We are going to do that.

“We are going to talk to every manager that is responsible for our players [about] how they are thinking, show them what they have done, how we have done it and what we expect them to do in the future as well.

“Everything has to be connected and related to the aim of protecting the player and getting the best out of the player.”

Consecutive defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle have left the Gunners hopes of a top-four finish reliant on an already-relegated Norwich beating Spurs and while Arteta believes his side have made progress, they are clearly still a long way from challenging for the title.

“The league table doesn’t lie after 38 games and the league table says we are very far away from first and second position, not only in points but in goal difference,” Arteta said. “That is the level we have to try to aim and reach.”

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Updated: May 21, 2022, 11:12 AM