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Arsenal's Mikel Arteta says Saka strength enough to handle racist abuse

FOOTBALL By Reuters | July 14th 2021
Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021. England's Bukayo Saka looks dejected after losing the penalty shootout as teammates console him. [REUTERS/Carl Recine]

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said winger Bukayo Saka is a "strong character" and backed the teenager to overcome the racist abuse directed at him on social media after his miss in England's shootout defeat to Italy in Sunday's Euro 2020 final.

The 19-year-old missed England's final spot kick after team mates Marcus Rashford, 23, and Jadon Sancho, 21, also failed to convert in the shootout, with all three subsequently subjected to racist abuse online.

The comments prompted a police investigation and brought widespread condemnation.

Arteta told Sky Sports he had spoken to Saka and that was sure that he would be fine.

"He is such a strong character," Arteta added. "He has received a lot of love and support from world football, not only with Arsenal but the national team and the English fans because he doesn't deserve anything like (what) he has been through."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a meeting with social media companies on Tuesday to ask them to do more in the fight against online abuse.

"... Hopefully the laws will become stronger. I think we're all going to try and make a strong case out of that," Arteta said. "Hopefully, it can have a big impact because it's the moment to put that right."

Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Burnley - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - December 13, 2020. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta looks dejected. [REUTERS/Catherine Ivill]
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