Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard has told Bukayo Saka to toughen up, following the Arsenal star’s complaints over physicality in the sides’ recent fixture.
Saka has been one of the shining lights of Arsenal’s side this season. Indeed, the 20-year-old has contributed to 14 league goals this term.
Furthermore, Saka scored the only goal as Arsenal beat Aston Villa 1-0 on Saturday. The winger said after the game that he had spoken to the referee regarding the treatment he was receiving from the Villa players.
Indeed, Villa skipper Tyrone Mings was booked for a challenge on Saka, despite winning the ball. Villa boss Gerrard has bashed Saka for his complaints, following the game.
“It’s part of the game. The last time I checked it’s not a no-contact sport. I think tackles are allowed, physicality’s allowed,” the manager said, quoted by Sky Sports.
“He’s a good player, he’s an outstanding talent and I love him. But he can’t complain about that side. That’s football.
“I’m sitting here now with screws in my hips, I’ve had about 16 operations, I’m struggling to go to the gym at the moment. That’s all on the back of earning a living in English football. He’ll learn and he’ll learn quick.”
Indeed, learning to deal with the physicality of the Premier League can do Saka no harm. Given he is still just 20 years old, he will no doubt adapt to that side of the game.
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That being said, Gerrard is clearly an admirer of the Arsenal youngster’s talent.
One of the Premier League’s most accomplished former stars being a fan of Saka’s shows what a good player he is.
Danny Murphy tells Saka to ‘be quiet’
Pundit Danny Murphy has joined Gerrard in flaying Saka for his complaints. While he agrees players should be protected, he feels it happens more than ever in the current era.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying to the ref, ‘keep an eye out, I’m getting a bit’, that’s fine. But I’m with Stevie on this one, I have never seen players being protected more than they are now. You can’t even follow through on a tackle without worrying about a red anymore,” he said on talkSPORT.
“I am a big fan of Saka as well, I love him, what a talent and what a player, but be quiet with it, take the hits when the come, you’ll get protected, there are plenty of reds and yellows being dished out. If he was getting hammered that much he wouldn’t be playing every week, he never misses a game.”
Indeed, Murphy feels the referees do their best to penalise poor tackling, and Saka should not be too worried.
Nonetheless, the youngster is clearly admired by a lot of people in football.