Mikel Arteta is an extremely unlucky Spaniard. He’s been immense since his deadline day move to the Gunners in 2011, and due to his countries embarrassing midfield riches, he has struggled to even earn a single cap for the senior national team.
The midfield maestro combines elegance with force, and when fit is generally one of the first names on the Gunners team sheet. Playing predominantly as a holding midfielder during his time in north London, his deep lying playmaker abilities would hypothetically have earned him a call up would he have been almost any other nationality.
Arsene Wenger famously once said:
If Arteta was English, he would have had an international career.
He’s been playing at the highest level since his move to Emirates, scoring numerous vital goals including being Arsenal’s number one penalty taker. At 31-years-old he is getting on. His speed has been exposed on occasions this campaign which is certainly a worry but one thing you will notice is how little he goes to ground.
As a defensive midfielder you would expect to see him flying in all over the show, however he stays on his feet almost all the time meaning he is less likely to lose his attacker and give away a foul. He is one hell of an accurate tackler and a hard worker.
He’s also proven to be Arsenal’s metronome, setting their tempo and turning defence into attack. With Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets providing the main options in the midfield pivot role, there should be a need for a backup or someone to step in alongside the midfield anchormen should injury hit the Spaniards.
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He has received a call-up to the Spain squad before. Back in 2009 after some fine performances for Everton, however a knee injury prevented him from earning the highest honour for a Spaniard – a chance to play for La Roja.
With a World Cup on the horizon there is no better time to enter the Spain national team fold, however as much as I rate the Spaniard it seems unlikely he will earn himself a call up now. His lack of speed is certainly an issue however he completely makes up for that with his technical nous.
Many Gooners will agree he should be a part of the Spain set-up, but will or should Vicente del Bosque hear our calls?