Mikel Arteta is pleased to have made a success out of his new role at the base of the Arsenal midfield.
The 31-year-old played in more advanced positions for the majority of his career, but was stationed further back in the wake of Alex Song’s departure last summer.
The vice-captain responded by delivering a series of superb displays and he admits he has been pleased with the way he adapted.
“I feel very happy because I think I have found a level of consistency throughout the whole year,” Arteta told Arsenal Player. “I missed two-and-a-half weeks with a little calf problem, after that I think I have played every game.
“I was the man to play in a different role, I had to adapt and I did the best that I could. I have sacrificed myself a lot for the team and worked as hard as I could and tried to help my team-mates.
“In my mind, I think ‘How can I make the players around me better? How can I make them feel more comfortable?’ I am talking about Santi, Aaron, Jack, Tomas Rosicky - players like that.
“That was the hardest part probably, but I knew I could succeed in doing it. I watched a lot of players in my position and I am happy with the way I have done it.
“I watched Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Michael Carrick, who is a good example. Before I used watch the likes of Iniesta and Xavi and in my mind I always think about them, but now I haw to stop that side.
“People may not understand why I don't go forward more but this is my job, it wouldn't be good for the team.”
Arteta started his career in Spain in the same role - known as a ‘pivote’ - and he admits it helped him readjust to his new responsibilities.
“I know the concepts and I have the tactical knowledge to know what I have to do it,” he said. “I have had to change, but it is a mental thing really.
“I enjoy playing in that position a lot, I do - all the tackling and covering people and making the players around me better. I really enjoyed it this season.”Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source