Bukayo Sako is hopeful of maintaining his place in the Arsenal side despite the imminent return of Alexandre Lacazette from injury.
The 18-year-old has impressed since being handed his opportunity under Unai Emery so far this season, benefitting from the absence of Lacazette to play a key role in Arsenal‘s attacking line up.
The French forward is in contention to return from an ankle injury for Monday night’s trip to Sheffield United, and whilst Saka admits the 28-year-old’s return is a welcome boost, he is not prepared to give up his starting spot easily.
“It’s always good to have all our best players available, all of us competing makes us push to play better and better,” Saka told football.london.
“If one player is injured then others get an opportunity but I want everyone to come back and do the best for Arsenal.
“The boss knows what I can do, what the other players can do. Different games require different players but I feel like I’ve shown the boss he can trust me. Whatever game he puts me in I’ll always give it my all.”
Saka has started each of Arsenal’s last two Premier League fixtures, impressing in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United last month by providing the assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s Old Trafford equaliser.
The teenager has spoken of the trust place in him by Unai Emery, and says he will continue to work hard as he bids to establish himself as a regular in the first-team.
“The boss has really trusted me and put a lot of faith in me. I just try to work hard in training every day, he has given me the opportunity to work in this team. I’ve learned so much from the other players and it’s showing on the pitch.
“Do I feel established in the first team? I don’t know yet, I just try to work hard, give my all and put in a good performance.
“Hopefully after I’ve put in that performance I can build on it. If the boss trusts me to play I’ll always do my best.”
Saka’s emergence is the latest show of Arsenal’s faith in the club’s best young talent, with Head of Football Raul Sanllehi and Emery committed to developing their academy starlets.
Having joined the Arsenal academy at the age of seven, the winger says his first-team breakthrough is reward for several years of hard work.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 1, 2019
“It has always been a dream for me,” he said. “I’ve been working for this moment as a kid, in the academy. Now I’ve got to the first team I just want to give it my best to repay the faith the boss has given me.
“It’s not just about me. The players give me a lot of confidence, the boss gives me a lot of confidence. When the boss is going to start you at Old Trafford it’s going to give you a lot of confidence. I just try to go out there, do my best, play without fear and doubt. If the boss trusts me to do it I can do it.
“I don’t feel the pressure. I try to go out there and not think about the outcome, just focus on the things I can control. Even if things aren’t going well I just work hard and the game will take care of itself.”