Arsenal boss Arteta backs Saka to ignore racist taunts


London (AFP) – Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says Bukayo Saka’s “strong character” will help him ignore the racist abuse he suffered after England’s Euro 2020 final defeat.

Saka endured vile racist taunts on social media after missing the penalty that sealed Italy’s 3-2 shoot-out victory against England in Sunday’s final at Wembley.

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho also received abusive messages after failing to convert their penalties.

But Arteta has spoken to Saka since the abuse and is confident the 19-year-old will not be affected.

“Yes, I have. We all have, I think, spoken to him, sent messages,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

“He will be fine. He is such a strong character.

“He has received a lot of love and support from world football, not only with Arsenal but the national team and all the English fans because he doesn’t deserve anything like he has been through.”

The racist abuse received by England’s players has been met with widespread condemnation.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with social media companies at Downing Street on Tuesday in a bid to improve methods to erase the problem. 

Johnson has said the government will change football banning orders to cover online racism.

Arteta, speaking after Arsenal’s pre-season friendly defeat at Hibernian, called for tougher laws on internet abuse.

“Hopefully we can use this now to make a strong statement and we have to stop racial abuse on social media and people using social media to hide and put people in really bad places,” Arteta said.

“Hopefully the laws will become stronger. I think we are all going to try and make a strong case out of that and hopefully, it can have a big impact because I think it is the moment to put that right.”

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