Alexandre Lacazette has praised teammate Bukayo Saka as the best young player in the Premier League.

The Arsenal striker spoke as the teenage wideman outlined the story behind his determination to reach the first team - as his junior teammates fell by the wayside.

Saka, 18, has provided nine assists so far this season, the most recent of which enabled Lacazette to give the Gunners the edge in their Europa League tie against Olympiakos.

With the two teams set to meet at the Emirates on Thursday night, Lacazette said: “He's really good. I think he's maybe the best young player in the league.

“Like I said, he needs to improve in a few things but you can see the quality he has and he's humble. The best thing for him is to be involved.

"He wants to work, he accepts criticism because he wants to improve.”

Asked what places Saka top in a league that boasts the likes of Manchester United's Mason Greenwood, teammate Brandon Williams and Tottenham's Ryan Sessegnon, Lacazette said: “It's simple: his quality. He's got a good left foot.

"Because he is humble, it's easier for him to improve.”

As the rave reviews continued, Saka gave an insight into the work he has put in to make his breakthrough.

He told Arsenal.com: “I just enjoyed playing, but I don't think I ever really thought I was going to make it to the first team until I actually signed my first professional contract when I turned 17.

Saka has made a huge impression at the Emirates

“You go through the youth teams, year by year, and you see all these great players around you - some of them could be the best in the year - and slowly they are all let go, to other clubs or even stopping completely.

“So you could never be sure that you would make it, but what I said to myself is that I would always give my best in every single session. I always wanted to learn to get better, I always watched a lot of football to see how I could improve.

Lacazette has no doubt about Saka's quality

“But we had a big group at [our coaching complex in north London], and even though we had so many quality players, the coaches would always say, 'Look around the dressing room, only maybe one or possibly two of you will make it to the first team one day.'

“We would look at each other and wonder who it would be.

"I was always determined for it to be me, and so I wanted to do whatever it took to achieve that.”

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Saka has impressed under Mikel Arteta having been blooded by Unai Emery and with interim boss Freddie Ljungberg also appreciating his talent.

But he admits to fearing his time would never come.

He added: “I got impatient at times. When I was really young I had a lot of growing pains, and it was really frustrating.

"I had problems with my heels and my knees, but that happens when you grow up. At the time though you don't have the patience, I just wanted to play all the time.

"I kept asking how long it would be until I was playing without pain.

"But looking back I know it wasn't so hard. I know other people have been through much worse.”