After Arsene Wenger was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame, Mikel Arteta has acknowledged the huge influence his former boss has had on his career on the pitch and now in the dugout himself.
The Frenchman has been awarded the honour having guided us to three league titles and winning 476 matches across a league-record 22 seasons, and alongside Sir Alex Ferguson has become one of the first managers to be added to the legendary club.
Having initially been brought to Emirates Stadium by Arsene back in 2011, Mikel is delighted to see him recognised by the Premier League and was quick to pay tribute to someone whom he was thrilled to learn from during their five-year stint together.
“I had a dream to play for this club, and that was because of the way Arsenal played under Arsene,” Mikel said. “It was so attractive, I think every player wanted to play here! I had a phenomenal time with him, and I learnt a lot.
“That pushed me at the end of my career to become a coach, so he had a big influence on me. We had a conversation and I asked him what he would do in my position because I had doubts about whether to continue [playing] or start my journey as a coach.
“He helped me at the club and at the academy to do my badges, and he was an inspiration and always supportive. I think he inspired every player and every member of staff that has worked with him.”
Arsene’s arrival in north London back in 1996 would help transform English football beyond recognition across his 22 seasons in charge of us, and Mikel feels that no other boss had the same influence over the development of the game over such a lengthy period - with tenures such as his and Ferguson’s unlikely to ever be matched again.
Reflecting on the mark Wenger made on the game, Arteta added: “I think he took English football to a different level and challenged it to open its doors for many other foreigners to come and join the league to make it better.
“The way he spoke, what he transmitted as a coach, the way his teams played; I think he's been a phenomenal influence in world football. He had a vision that was much wider than any other manager had at the time. I think England and the Premier League have to be very grateful forever to this man.
“It is an incredible and difficult achievement to main that level of consistency, in this league in particular. It’s a recipe that Sir Alex and Arsene have kept very quiet because no-one else has done it, and I don’t know nowadays if it’s even possible to do it.
“To be constantly with the same people, same staff, same players and still have the capacity to every day come up with something new to inspire them, to keep them hungry, it’s extraordinary. It’s a very, very rare and special quality.”
Press play on the video above to hear more from Mikel
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