'Football could lose him by 25' - ex-Arsenal star makes huge claim on Premier League's most-kicked striker

Former Arsenal star Bob Wilson believes one Gunners star could be out of action by the time he's 25.Former Arsenal star Bob Wilson believes one Gunners star could be out of action by the time he's 25.
Former Arsenal star Bob Wilson believes one Gunners star could be out of action by the time he's 25. | Arsenal FC via Getty Images
The former Arsenal goalkeeper believes one of the Emirates' brightest stars could be 'kicked out' by 25

The former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson has suggested that one of Mikel Arteta's star players could be out of the sport by the time he turns 25-years-old due to the constant kicking he receives on the pitch.

Ex-Scotland international, Wilson, spent eleven years with Arsenal, making over 300 appearances for them from 1963 and 1974. After retiring as a player the 82-year-old went into coaching and broadcasting, presenting football programmes for 28 years until 2002.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Speaking in an interview with The Telegraph, Wilson spoke on life after the death of his wife, Megs, with whom he was with for 70 years as well as his work with the Willow Foundation - a charity the couple set-up following the death of his daughter when she was 31 years old.

Bukayo Saka (L) is tackled by Porto's Galerno in UEFA Champions League quater-finalBukayo Saka (L) is tackled by Porto's Galerno in UEFA Champions League quater-final
Bukayo Saka (L) is tackled by Porto's Galerno in UEFA Champions League quater-final | AFP via Getty Images

The former goalkeeper also went on to criticise the current treatment of the 'jewel in Arsenal's crown' Bukayo Saka and the constant kicking the winger receives. Wilson, who formed part of football's most physical era and admitted that the players would 'kick lumps out of each other', has indicated that referees do not see the extent to which the 22-year-old forward is being attacked.

Wilson 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."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The ex-Arsenal goalkeeping coach went on to then praise the England international and has rated him as highly as many of the Arsenal Invincibles whom he knew personally while being a part of Arsene Wenger's coaching staff.

"I see Saka up with the greats", Wilson added, "if he is not kicked out of the game. 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."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.