Mikel Arteta endured a disastrous season in 2014/15, and was plagued by injury after injury throughout the campaign. He claims he felt wasted while watching on from the sidelines, but is glad to be back and fighting for his starting spot.
“I really missed it [when I was out],” he said, as quoted by Arsenal.com.
“I had a really tough period last year after my last game in November and I went through some really difficult moments with my surgery.
“When the players go outside for a training session, you feel wasted. They come back, they travel, they have different times to you and you don’t spend much time with them. Personally I don’t feel productive.
“I’m here because I want to play games, make this team more successful and be a part of it.
“When I’m not able to do that I still have to contribute, be positive, be good around the other players, give advice and try to help my team-mates. But it is not the same.”
Arteta is arguably well past his best, and we certainly can’t rely on the Spaniard to do the lone holding role and anchor our midfield.
He still has plenty to offer both on and off the field however, and his leadership qualities are invaluable.
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The experience he brings to the side has proved hugely important, and he is an excellent role model for our younger stars. He is a consummate professional at all times, and is the type of player our young Gunners should aspire to be.
Despite not being of the level required to start for Arsenal anymore, Arteta looks as though he still has a year or two of football left in him. It would be a shame to see him leave the club, as he would not doubt be an excellent mentor and coach. Hopefully he finishes his career at Arsenal, and can go on imparting wisdom to the younger generations.