“Even Arsene was afraid of him” – Former Arsenal Man Theo Walcott Says Mikel Arteta Was Always Destined To Become A Manager

Mikel Arteta and Arsene Wenger At Arsenal
Mikel Arteta and Arsene Wenger At Arsenal

Former Arsenal and England attacker Theo Walcott has said Mikel Arteta was always destined to become a top manager. Walcott recalled a training ground incident during their time together in north London that brought out then-player Arteta’s managerial attributes.

Mikel Arteta Has Turned Arsenal’s Fortunes Around

Despite failing to win any major silverware in the last five years at the Emirates Stadium, Arteta has established himself as one of the most elite managers in the Premier League. Under his tutelage, Arsenal have enjoyed exponential growth, going from challenging for a place in the top six to giving title holders Manchester City a run for their money.

Most importantly, Arteta has built on Arsene Wenger‘s coaching philosophy, not only focusing on winning but also paying close attention to the aesthetics.

Theo Walcott Says Even Arsene Wenger Was Afraid Of Mikel Arteta

Even as a player, Arteta kept a close eye on team dynamics. He paid special attention to morale, how his teammates were performing, and how to get the best out of them. So, understandably, he reacted more strongly to losses and setbacks, and he was not afraid to speak his mind.

Speaking on the Up Front with Simon Jordan podcast, Walcott looked back on an incident that helped him see the manager in Arteta.

He said (via The Daily Mail):

The turning point for me in terms of how I viewed Mikel Arteta was an experience I had with him as a player at Arsenal. It was at a time when we weren’t making the top four. 

We had training in 30 minutes and he locked all the players in the dressing room, as if he was the manager. He was taking control of the whole space and telling us how it is. In that moment it was like he was the manager, and that was the turning point for me.”

Walcott added Arteta had such a strong character that even his then-manager Wenger was afraid of him.

The ex-winger concluded by adding:

That’s when I thought he could go on to be a manager. Arsene Wenger was waiting for us to come outside for training but we weren’t coming out because Mikel stopped the training session.

He was such a strong character that even Arsene was afraid of him.”

Arteta and Walcott spent four years together at Arsenal between 2012 and 2016. They shared the pitch 85 times, combining for one goal.

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