Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta claimed Bukayo Saka’s penalty error at Euro 2020 was “great for his career” after the England international scored a goal and assisted another in the 3-2 win at Watford.
aka provided the template for Martin Odegaard’s early opener at Vicarage Road, which was soon nullified by an overhead kick from Cucho Hernandez.
The Arsenal academy graduate then restored his side’s lead after a well-crafted one-two with Alexandre Lacazette before Gabriel Martinelli added a third.
The Gunners appeared to be in full swing before Moussa Sissoko scored in the 87th minute, but the Hornets were unable to level.
Saka missed the crucial penalty in England’s agonizing Euro 2020 final defeat by Italy at Wembley and was then racially abused online, along with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, who also missed penalties.
“I think Bukayo had an experience in the summer that not many players would ever have and I think it was great for his career because the football world showed how much they love him and how much they respect him,” said arteta
“I think it was a big boost for him to realize in difficult moments that people will support him and the club have done exactly the same as his team-mates.
“Then it’s about giving him that freedom. What he’s already doing is phenomenal and he needs that space. Don’t read too much, do what you do.
“Football is his priority in life and you see that every day in training and he has to keep acting and living the way he does.”
Arteta believes Saka, who has had an impressive season so far, is better for the experience.
“I think so,” Arteta added. “I think such experiences shape your career. And what you learn from those difficult moments is much more likely than if you had scored that goal.”
Watford manager Roy Hodgson said he could not have asked for more from his players after they pushed the Gunners to the limit and scored twice for the first time since November.
“That’s Watford at the bottom against Arsenal,” said Hodgson. “They haven’t lost a game since god knows when, they have about two games in hand and they’re a point off the top four in the country.
“We always knew we had to pull out many stops to get something out of the game. I don’t think I can ask more from the players and what they gave Watford Football Club and the fans today I really don’t.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/bukayo-sakas-penalty-miss-at-euro-2020-was-great-for-his-career-mikel-arteta-41417448.html Bukayo Saka’s penalty shootout at Euro 2020 was great for his career – Mikel Arteta