Bacary Sagna and Jack Wilshere were proved correct in their assessments of Bukayo Saka as the youngster guided Arsenal into the last 16 of the Europa League.
The England international provided two exceptional assists for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to both open and finish the scoring in the Gunners’ 4-3 aggregate victory.
Saka’s pinpoint cross for his skipper in the closing stages was crucial in their progression, and social media has been unanimous in support of the teenager.
Although Cesc Fabregas was one of many to praise Saka after the match, both Sagna and Wilshere had done so in the weeks leading up to the inspired display.
Former Gunners favourites Sagna and Wilshere both selected Saka as the current Arsenal player in the best form even before his Europa League heroics.
When asked who was the best player at the club currenty, Wilshere said: “Saka! What a player."
With Sagna backing up his previous comment by tweeting: “Naaaaaaaahhhh Bukayo Saka what a player.
Cesc Fabregas said of the teen on Thursday evening: “Saka is such a good player.
“Such a maturity and intelligence for his age. Game changer.”
“Certainly his form in recent months shows that he's a very important player for us,” Arteta said in his press conference ahead of narrow victory over Benfica.
“I think he's getting better and better, his performance levels have been really consistent, so that makes him for sure one of the most important players in recent months.”
Before adding: “It is very unusual but he's been doing a lot of unusual things.
“He's dealing with things at his age in a very unusual way, but that's why he's showing what he's showing, because his maturity is above his age and so is his intelligence as well.”
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Another plus for Saka is his support from England boss Gareth Southgate, which bodes well ahead of the upcoming Euro 2020.
He said in November: “To see Bukayo again was a real plus.
“I think he has really had three excellent performances this week, for someone so young especially.
“It gives us good balance to have an attack-minded player in that position, it is really helpful.”
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