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I'm a former Arsenal double winner, I fear Saka will be forced to retire at 25

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ARSENAL legend Bob Wilson fears Bukayo Saka will have to RETIRE by 25 years of age if continues to be “kicked out of the game”.

The England international, 22, has already racked up 217 appearances for the Gunners, scoring 54 goals and providing 52 assists.

Bukayo Saka has played in all of Arsenal's Premier League games since May 2021

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Bukayo Saka has played in all of Arsenal’s Premier League games since May 2021Credit: Getty
Arsenal double winner Bob Wilson fears Saka could have to retire early due to the treatment from opposition players

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Arsenal double winner Bob Wilson fears Saka could have to retire early due to the treatment from opposition playersCredit: Rex

He also boasts the longest current run of consecutive Premier League appearances – featuring in Arsenal‘s last 68 games, a run that stretches back to May 2021.

But Wilson, 82, who won the Premier League-FA Cup double with Arsenal in 1971, believes the aggressive treatment from opposition players could significantly shorten Saka‘s career.

Speaking to The Telegraph, he said: “What drives me demented is we have one of the best young players and, if we aren’t careful, football will lose him by the time he is 24 or 25 because Bukayo Saka will have been kicked out of the game.

“Referees don’t seem to see or understand it.

“There are always a minimum of two players within five yards of Saka and often a third. If they can’t stop him, they kick him.

“People say, ‘What do you mean? That’s too dramatic’. I say there has not been a more kicked player in the Premier League than Bukayo Saka.

“If he is facing in an attacking position, and he is taking them on, that is the time I worry. I really worry for Bukayo.”

He went on to add: “I see Saka up with the greats… if he is not kicked out of the game.

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“He is clever, dangerous, and knows when to release it. I love him on one side and [Gabriel] Martinelli, with his sheer pace, on the other.”

Saka’s manager Mikel Arteta spoke about the tough tackling the forward was being subjected to during an interview last year.

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He added: “Bukayo needs to learn and improve how he protects himself on the pitch within the rules.

“There was a very thin line with the way he reacted last week and he cannot allow that to take him out of the game and lose his focus.

“He has been getting kicked since he was 10 years old. Wingers and talented players get fouled a lot and that’s his role in the team.

“Obviously he attracts a lot of attention. It’s totally normal for the opposition to try to stop creative players and restrict the ball getting to them. That’s a challenge he has to face every week.

“There are a lot of things we can do in training to help him learn when to take certain balls and what to do with them, how to use his body and how to jump.

“But it’s very difficult to predict what the opponent is going to do.”

Saka is enjoying statistically his best season yet, contributing 16 goals and 13 assists in 398 appearances in all competitions.

He has not scored in three league games, but prior to that had netted seven times in just five Prem matches.

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