Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s young English contingent can handle pressure

Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White are contenders to make Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the World Cup.

By Press Association Published: 30 April 2022 - 1.25pm

Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal’s young English contingent can perform under pressure as they head into the final stages of the season.

Ahead of the weekend the Gunners were fourth in the table, two points clear of local rivals Tottenham as they look to put an end to their five-year exile from the Champions League, ahead of a game at West Ham on Sunday.

The race for a top-four spot has been far from straightforward for Arsenal, and they only bounced back from three straight defeats recently, following it up with wins against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Emile Smith Rowe
Arsenal’s Emile Smith Rowe is a contender for England honours (Adam Davy/PA)

Among those at the heart of Arsenal’s team are those putting forward their case for selection in Gareth Southgate’s England squad – Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White – and Arteta believes they can cope with the pressure that comes on the international stage.

“I think they are doing it in their clubs and I think that is really really important,” the Gunners manager said.

“The step (up) and the demands are not really that high because they are already really key and important players in their own clubs so they are used to the pressure.

Mikel Arteta
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has backed his young players to handle the pressure (John Walton/PA)

“The international level is something really different but I think they have the maturity and they have the capacity to sustain that level under pressure because they play every week in their clubs.”

With Arsenal close to securing a place in Europe next season, although the fight for a place in the Champions League could go the end of the season, the manager has admitted they will need a bigger squad to compete in multiple competitions.

“We are aware of that, that the squad as well and some of the contract and situations that we have, it is not manageable,” he said.

“We cannot have the capacity to share minutes and maintain the level of quality we require so obviously that is part of the plan.”

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