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.”
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