The teenage winger has been given a hero’s welcome at the club’s training ground after a rollercoaster summer with England at Euro 2020
Bukayo Saka has been presented with a wall of positive messages and letters upon his return to Arsenal.
The 19-year-old reported back to the Gunners’ training ground for pre-season tests on Wednesday, having been on holiday since starring for England at the European Championship.
Saka played a key role in the Three Lions’ run to the final of the tournament, but received racist abuse after their showpiece defeat to Italy, and Arsenal fans have rallied around the teenager ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.
What’s been said?
Arsenal have released a video on their social media channels showing Saka reading special tributes and messages from fans on one of the walls of their indoor training facility at London Colney.
“How do I even say thank you for all of this?” the winger can be heard asking the cameraman after reading through the letters.
Saka’s rollercoaster summer
Saka was named in Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad after an impressive 2020-21 campaign at Arsenal, and showed no signs of any nerves on the international stage.
The Arsenal starlet played in four of England’s seven games, including a man-of-the-match display in their 1-0 group-stage victory over the Czech Republic on matchday three.
Saka also came on as a substitute in the final against Italy, but his night ended in heartbreak as he missed the Three Lions’ fifth penalty in their shootout loss.
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also failed to convert from 12 yards, and all three men were subjected to racist abuse online after the game.
The Football Association subsequently called for social media companies to do more to protect footballers, while the Metropolitan Police launched a formal investigation into the abuse.
Saka’s career record
Saka has made 88 appearances across all competitions for Arsenal since breaking into the senior fold back in 2018, scoring 11 goals.
The talented attacker has also contributed 21 assists to the Gunners’ cause, while establishing himself as one of the most important members of Mikel Arteta’s squad over the past 18 months.
Saka’s performances earned him his first England call-up last September, and he now has nine international caps and one goal to his name.