Saka clapped by Spurs fans on Arsenal return


Tottenham fans put north London rivalries aside to welcome Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka back to domestic duties for the first time since Euro 2020.

Saka’s introduction into Arsenal’s 1-0 pre-season defeat at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was his first appearance since he was racially abused after missing a penalty in England’s shootout defeat by Italy in the final.

With no away fans for any of the Mind Series matches, the Spurs fans gave Saka a warm ovation as he replaced skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Tottenham fans also displayed a banner which read “North London stands with Bukayo Saka and all players against racism and discrimination”.

Saka almost scored as well but new Tottenham goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini kept out the 19-year-old’s low shot.

After Dele Alli had twice hit a post from close range, Son Heung-min secured victory for the hosts 10 minutes from time when he drove home from Japhet Tanganga’s lay-off.

Saka’s England team-mate Ben White made his first start for the Gunners but Harry Kane was missing for the hosts.

Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo later confirmed Kane was isolating at the club’s training ground and hopes to speak to him – socially distanced – on Monday.

Nuno also refused to talk about about Inter Milan’s £60m-rated striker Lautaro Martinez, who Tottenham are trying to sign.

“Harry is with us. He has to quarantine, he’s in the lodge but he’s training. He already had the first day with the sports scientists. He’s with us,” said the former Wolves boss.

“I didn’t speak today because today was a match but we have a training session tomorrow. Hopefully, socially distanced, I will speak with Harry.”

On Martinez, he added: “I won’t speak about any player. I will speak only about my players, Tottenham players, nothing else.”

Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock, who has been linked with a move to Newcastle, was absent for the Gunners on Sunday, with manager Mikel Arteta refusing to comment on his future.

“We will explain the reasons when we can,” said the Spaniard. “It’s all I can say now, when I can say more I will let you know.”


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