Arteta: Saka’s such a strong character – he’ll be fine


rsenal boss Mikel Arteta has backed Bukayo Saka to bounce back from his penalty heartache with England and believes this is the “moment” to make a stand against racist abuse on social media.

Saka was one of three England players to miss their penalty during Sunday’s Euro 2020 final shootout defeat to Italy.

Along with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, the 19-year-old has been targeted by racist abuse online in the aftermath of the game.

Saka is now on his summer break and was not part of the Arsenal squad that lost 2-1 to Hibernian in their opening preseason game on Tuesday night, but speaking after the match Arteta confirmed he had been in touch with the winger.

“Yes, I have, we all have, we’ve spoken to him, sent messages,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “He will be fine, he’s such a strong character, he has received a lot of love and support from the world of football, not only from Arsenal but from the national team and English fans.

“He doesn’t deserve anything like he’s been through. He’s had a phenomenal season and in football if you want to be part of the greatest you have to know, today, at 19, you will lose more than you will win unfortunately in this game and there are no exceptions to that rule.

“Hopefully, we can use now again to make a strong statement and we have to stop that racial abuse on social media and people using social media to hide and put people in really bad places. Hopefully, the laws become stronger, we’re all going to try to make a strong case out of that and hopefully it can have a big impact because I think now is the moment to put that right.”

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