Ashley Cole believes Bukayo Saka has been “used and abused” this season because of his versatility, with the teenager featuring in a variety of positions for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Saka has been one of Arsenal’s best players this season, netting seven goals and providing ten assists in all competitions.
Cole believes Saka is a “shining light in this Arsenal team”, but warned that his versatility could make it “very, very difficult” for him to “be a top, top player.”
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Arsenal’s game against Chelsea on Wednesday, Cole said: “As Jamie [Redknapp] says, [he’s] a shining light in this Arsenal team. He plays with courage, [he’s] fearless at times.
“But I just feel when you don’t cement down one position, it’s very, very difficult to nail that down and be a top, top player. As a manager, you love it because he’s adaptable and he can play in three or four positions, which is brilliant.
“But I feel for him at times because I think he’s kind of used and abused.”
When asked what he felt Saka’s best position was, Cole replied: “I like him from the right but not as a wingback. Yes they have to attack, but I like to see him in the attacking areas.
“I like when he can cut in on the left foot. He’s got that sharp little movement to get in behind with his pace as well.”
Redknapp was also full of praise for the 19-year-old, saying: “What I like most about him is he’s fearless, he doesn’t care, he wants the ball.
“As I say, he’s been a leading light for Arsenal and you look at all the experienced players they’ve got. He’s the one you always think that if Arsenal win, it will be because he does something special in the game.”