Bukayo Saka’s hidden role in nurturing Arsenal’s next wonderkid

Bukayo Saka’s performances for Arsenal this season have seen him singled out as one of English football’s rising stars.

But for young Gunners still working their way up towards the senior set-up, Saka is a shining example of what can be achieved.

Saka has made 14 appearances for Mikel Arteta’s side this term, showing his versatility by playing in a number of different positions, and also taking his tally of England caps to four.

And Arsenal’s promising youngster Marcelo Flores has hailed the role played by his 19-year-old mentor in guiding him through his early days at the Emirates.

Flores signed his first professional contract with the Gunners in October once he had turned 17, and has trained with the senior set-up a number of times.

Bukayo Saka is a role model for Arsenal’s young prospects

And he said Saka was “the best person to talk to” in order to glean advice on how to break into Arteta’s plans.

“I see Bukayo, he is a very good role model for me. He is the best person to talk to, we text and we talk a lot,” said Flores in an interview with Goal.

“He worked very hard to get where he is. He gives me advice and shares his own experiences so I’m ready for whatever is coming.”

Attacking midfielder Flores has scored three goals in his first 12 games for Arsenal’s under-18s.

Marcelo Flores has been invited to train with the senior set-up

And he said he wants to be “a club legend” after gaining a taste of first-team training.

“It was like a dream training with the first team, I couldn’t believe everything that was happening,” Flores said.

“After training, it went well for me, I went out to play as normal. I am delighted, enjoying all the moments that I am living.

“Right now I don’t know (when I will debut), let’s see how things turn out. I want to play and become a club legend.”

The Mexican ace also hailed academy director Per Mertesacker for helping him settle into life at Arsenal, saying: “He is a very good friend, he helped me enormously.

“I am grateful to him because he believed in my abilities, he gave me a lot to be what I am now.”

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