The versatile winger has become one of Mikel Arteta‘s key players this season, playing 31 games and providing six goals and five assists, aged just 19.
Arteta recently said that Saka is in need of a rest, having played seven full games on the spin, and nine of the last 10. Asked this week if it inevitable that Saka will have to be given a break, despite how excellent his form has been, Arteta said: “At some point, ideally, yes.
“On Thursday night at some stages in the game we were thinking about that, because you can see it. It is not only him, there are a lot of players who have played so many minutes, you could see the Benfica players and you could sense the fatigue and the changes they had to do straight away.
“But obviously when things go well the energy that creates sometimes overcomes fatigue. If we have to rest players, we have to rest them, because we have to keep them fit as much as possible but as well you have to develop that mental toughness that you need when you are in competitions you want to win.”
But former player Michael Thomas has pointed to Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund ever-presents Mbappe and Haaland, insisting Saka should be treated – and considered – on a similar level.
“Saka has great quality and the consistency in his game this season has been so impressive,” Thomas told CaughtOffside. “Young players need to be managed both physically and mentally but I do think he will be able to play the majority of games this season.”
He added: “I find it a little strange in this country when we say these things but see players like Mbappe, Haaland etc playing week in week out.”