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Ashley Cole fears Bukayo Saka will find it ‘very difficult to become a top, top player’


Ashley Cole fears Bukayo Saka’s versatility could work against him (Picture: Sky Sports)

Ashley Cole fears Bukayo Saka’s versatility could prove his undoing and warned the Arsenal star may find it ‘very difficult to become a top, top player’ if he doesn’t nail down one position.

Saka has played in a variety of roles for the Gunners this season, with Cole admitting he’s being ‘used and abused’ by managers who rely on his adaptability.

However, while Cole – the former Chelsea and Arsenal left-back – thinks Mikel Arteta will ‘love’ that he can use Saka in a variety of roles, he fears it could prove to be bad news for his development.

‘I think he’s a shining light in this Arsenal team,’ Cole told Sky Sports ahead of their 1-0 Premier League win over Chelsea. ‘He plays with courage, fearless at times.

‘But I just feel when you don’t cement down one position, it’s very, very difficult to nail that trade down to become a top, top player.

‘As a manager you love it, because he’s adaptable, he can play in three or four positions, which is brilliant.

Saka has played in a lot of positions (Picture: Getty Images)

‘But I just feel for him at times, because he’s kind of used and abused.’

Asked what is Saka’s best position, he replied: ‘I like him from the right but not as a wing-back.

‘I like to see him in the attacking areas, where he can cut in on his left foot, combine and he’s got that smart little movements to get in behind with his pace as well.’

Jamie Redknapp, the former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, hopes that Saka will be linking up with Gareth Southgate’s England squad this summer.

‘Brilliant little player. I really like him,’ said Redknapp. ‘I’m hoping he goes with the England squad to the Euros.

‘He might have been one who was sort of on Gareth’s maybe list but to give him that experience… what I like most about him is he’s fearless.

‘He doesn’t care, he wants the ball. He’s been a leading light for Arsenal. If you look at all the players that they’ve got, all the experienced players… he’s the one that you think, if Arsenal win it will because he does something special in the game.’

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