Mikel Arteta admits two Arsenal players have struggled at Euro 2024 – Football News

Mikel Arteta admits two Arsenal players have struggled at Euro 2024

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been keeping a close eye on Euro 2024

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been keeping a close eye on Euro 2024 (Picture: BBC)

Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal duo Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka have had a ‘tough’ time at Euro 2024 but says Jude Bellingham’s stunning goal against Slovakia could ‘turn things around’ for England.

The Three Lions were heading out of the Euros until Bellingham scored a brilliant overhead kick to equalise in the dying seconds in last weekend’s last-16 clash against Slovakia.

Gareth Southgate’s side went on to win 2-1 thanks to Harry Kane’s extra-time header and set up a quarter-final clash with Switzerland.

Few England players have enhanced their reputations out in Germany and both Rice and Saka have attracted criticism for their performances for the struggling Three Lions.

England’s midfield has lacked control and Rice has been trialled with three different midfield partners – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Gallagher and Kobbie Mainoo – to little success.

Saka has also flattered to deceive on England’s right flank, with several pundits calling for Chelsea sensation Cole Palmer to replace him in the team.

Asked whether he watched England’s dramatic last-16 victory and was cheering on Rice and Saka from his sofa, Arteta told CBS: ‘It was an unbelievable moment [the winning goal]. 

Bukayo Saka has flattered to deceive for England

Bukayo Saka has flattered to deceive for England (Picture: Getty)

‘I was watching it with my boys and my son is a huge fan of Jude Bellingham so he was running and jumping all over the place. 

‘So glad for the boys [Rice and Saka] because I know it’s been a tough few weeks for them. 

‘But they showed the character and the resilience that is needed in tournaments to create a moment that hopefully is going to turn a lot of things around.’

Rice and Saka were two of the best players in the Premier League last season and helped Arsenal challenge for the title, Arteta’s side eventually finishing just two points behind Manchester City.

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While England – the pre-tournament favourites – are struggling to spark, Rio Ferdinand still expects them to lift the trophy come July 14.

‘It is easy to pick apart the team and question the way we are playing but I actually still have a feeling we are going to win this tournament,’ the ex-England and Manchester United defender told BBC Sport.

‘That comes from the fact that, so far, we have relied on individuals to get us results in games. We know we’ve got players who can keep doing it, too.

‘Foden was the best player in the Premier League last season, Harry Kane was the top goalscorer in Germany and Jude Bellingham was arguably the outstanding talent in Spain.

‘So we have got players who can create moments that decide matches at the highest level and, on top of that, we know as a team we have got resilience, character and belief.

‘We showed that with the way we turned things around so late to get past Slovakia in the last 16, because you don’t get results like that without that mentality.

‘Even if the team does not click the way we all want it to against Switzerland, we have shown we can drag ourselves through difficult moments. That’s another reason we should all be optimistic about what might happen next.’

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