Arteta - My age is only a number

Mikel Arteta says his age is "only a number" and insists he feels better than ever on the football pitch.

The Spanish midfielder has been a virtual ever-present when available this season and returned from his Champions League suspension to help Arsenal to an emphatic win over Sunderland on Saturday.

Arteta celebrates his 32nd birthday in March but, like the 33-year-old Tomas Rosicky - another stand-out performer at the weekend - he is flourishing in the autumn of his career.

"When you get to know your body and you have more experience, you are able to learn and read the game better," Arteta told Arsenal Player.

"When you get to know your body and you have more experience, you are able to learn and read the game better"

"It makes it easier for you and this is probably the time when I'm enjoying my football most, so I want to carry on. For me the age is only a number, I feel very good.

"There will be a day where you start to drop but for me personally now, if I can play every three days, I'd rather do that.

"You have to [adapt your game]," added Arteta. "Probably the way you look after yourself changes, the way you train… recovery, the way you eat, the way you rest.

"It's part of your knowledge and [you can carry on] if you use your body well with everything we have, every single detail, use every single person here at the Club to try and help you do the right things. I think a player now who is 33 or 34 is not the same as before, and I'm only 31."

The arrival of Mathieu Flamini last summer has given Arteta some assistance in the protective midfield role in front of the back four, and the Spaniard thinks Arsenal are more solid as a result.

"I think it helps the team because we can rotate players and we can play differently," explained Arteta. "We can play with two [in midfield] and it gives us another option.

"No-one has been able to play every game this season. I think the league is getting more demanding… you need a big squad, you can't afford to have only 11 players."

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