Bukayo Saka: Mikel Arteta backs ‘strong character’ to resist racist abuse online after England defeat | Football news
Bukayo Saka is a “strong character” who will stand up to the racist abuse he suffered after England’s final defeat at Euro 2020, Mikel Arteta said.
Arsenal manager Arteta spoke to the 19-year-old who, along with England team-mates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, were targeted on social media following their missed penalties in the loss in Sunday’s shootout against Italy at Wembley.
Racist abuse has been widely condemned, including by England boss Gareth Southgate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Football Association, while a Metropolitan Police investigation is underway.
When asked if he had personally been in contact with Saka, Arteta said Sky Sports News: “Yes, I did. We all, I think, talked to him, sent him messages.
“He will be fine. He is such a strong character. He has received a lot of love and support from world football, not only with Arsenal but the national team and all the English fans because he doesn’t deserve anything like it . [what] he’s been there. “
Saka, who made his England debut in October 2020, was an Arsenal regular under Arteta last season and went on to make four appearances under Southgate at the European Championship.
“He’s had a phenomenal season,” added Arteta, speaking after the club’s 2-1 loss to Hibernian in a preseason friendly on Tuesday.
“In football you want to be one of the greatest, you have to know today, at 19, that you lose more than you unfortunately win in this game and that there is no exception to this rule.”
The Prime Minister met with social media companies in Downing Street on Tuesday to discuss how to better tackle online abuse.
Arteta insists that now is the time to ensure that meaningful progress occurs to end the hatred and punish the perpetrators.
“I hope we can use now to make a strong statement and we need to stop racial abuse on social media and people using social media to hide and put people in really bad places.
“I hope the laws get tougher. I think we are all going to try to make a strong case out of it and I hope it can have a big impact because I think now is the time to correct that.”
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