Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery found Bukayo Saka’s debut “amazing” – even though the youngster never touched the ball.
Emery handed Saka his debut against Fulham in January 2019, bringing the versatile star off the bench for the last ten minutes.
Emery was sacked by Arsenal towards the end of 2019, though Saka has gone on to become one of Mikel Arteta’s most reliable players.
And Emery, who is now in charge of Villareal, has praised Saka’s growth following his time at the Emirates.
Speaking of Saka, Emery told football.london: “I remember when Bukayo played the first match with us in January. We won against Fulham 4-1 at the Emirates, he played for the first time with us at 17 years-old for 10 minutes.
“He didn’t touch one ball in ten minutes! He ran, ran, ran but didn’t kick one ball – it was amazing.
“When he started playing regularly you could look at him and see he’s a very good player. He’s progressing as a very important player and he is a very humble person.
“It's very important because some other players don’t have the same humble qualities as him to always want to learn, listen and follow us.
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“Bukayo was amazing as a person and a player. You could tell he’s a very intelligent, smart kid too.”
Saka had thanked Emery after putting pen to paper on a new Arsenal contract during the summer.
The 19-year-old said: “For starters, I just want to say I have to mention Unai Emery for the amount he believed in me, the opportunity he gave me, I’ll forever be grateful.
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“And then of course, Freddie Ljungberg, who has always gone out of his way to advise me and make sure I’m improving every day.
“These are the coaches I’ve played under before, but Mikel, he’s just amazing you know.
“He manages to give so much detail, while at the same time being so clear. It’s just amazing to have such a great coach. The future looks bright, and that’s why I’m happy to be here.”
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