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Pundit apologises to sensational Arsenal star following recent comments

Popular football pundit says he regrets his comment about Arsenal star and feels sorry for the pressure it has brought to him

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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has expressed regret over his recent comments regarding Bukayo Saka’s world-class status, acknowledging that the discussion has added unnecessary pressure to the young Arsenal star.

Following Arsenal’s impressive February performance, which has seen them score 18 goals in four Premier League games, much of the squad is in high spirits. Saka, 22, has been a standout player during this period, contributing a third of the team’s goals and displaying what many consider to be world-class form.

However, Ferdinand sparked a heated debate after suggesting, following a victory over West Ham, that Saka has not yet reached world-class status. The football pundit pointed out that Saka has yet to experience the knockout stages of the Champions League, leading to diverse opinions on the matter.

One prominent figure to respond to Ferdinand’s comments was Arsenal legend Ian Wright, who criticised the remarks as “clickbait-y” and subjective. Wright expressed concern over the potential impact on Saka’s mental state, stating that such discussions only create unnecessary pressure for young players.

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Arsenal star Bukayo Saka

Rio Ferdinand says he feels sorry for Bukayo Saka (Image credit: Getty Images)

“You know the whole thing about it, when Rio said it, it feels very clickbait-y, very banal. It’s so subjective. It’s just one of those it’s just about clicks in saying something like that.”

Wright, disappointed with Ferdinand’s approach, said that these conversations do not contribute positively to player development. He suggested that Ferdinand’s comments were not needed and could strain Saka’s relationship with him.

In light of the backlash, Ferdinand has now voiced regret on his YouTube channel. He empathised with Saka, acknowledging that the debate has placed additional pressure on the young player. Ferdinand clarified that he had answered a simple question honestly, intending to give Saka the praise and credit he deserves.

“Do you know who I feel sorry for in this situation? Saka. Because it brings him more pressure. Someone asked me a simple question. I answered it honestly. 

“I gave him the praise and credit that I think he deserves. But it’s a massive compliment being talked about in and around the world-class conversation, I think, for a player so young.”

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