Mikel Arteta has praised England boss Gareth Southgate for helping Bukayo Saka to overcome his penalty heartache in the Euro 2020 final defeat.
The Arsenal forward was one of three players to miss penalties – along with Manchester United’s Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford – as Italy were crowned European champions at Wembley to extend England’s heartache at major tournaments.
While some England players have struggled for form this season following that defeat, Saka has recovered well and has been one of Arsenal’s leading lights, and has even assumed penalty-taking duties for the Gunners in recent weeks, slotting home against Chelsea and Manchester United.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s game against West Ham, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was asked about Saka’s recovery from his International disappointment, and credited Gareth Southgate’s support as being ‘really helpful’.
“I must say that Gareth Southgate was really helpful as well because he had him in his hands and they were really caring and supporting,” Arteta told the media.
“He was in a good place. He got support, love and help in any way he needed to overcome. Then it was down to him and his family around him.”
With last summers Euros having been delayed due to the pandemic, it is now only six months to go until the next international tournament, with England set to be among the favourites at November’s World Cup in Qatar.
However, Arteta doesn’t think that the pressure is too much higher upon young players given the pressures encountered at their clubs in the Premier League.
“The step of demand is not that high because they are already key and important players for clubs,” he said. “They have the maturity and capacity to sustain under pressure because they do it every week for their clubs.”