The Spaniard was seen as a future manager at the Emirates and has helped improve players at Manchester City

The joke around Arsenal’s training ground as his playing days wound down was that Mikel Arteta, more than anyone else in the squad, had everything mapped out to a tee. Arteta would take his fair share of ribbing for being the studious type, the grounding influence, the de facto manager on the grass, and there were days when he did not have to walk too far around the practice pitches before being accosted by semi-mocking cries of: “Coach!”

In straighter-faced situations, perhaps in front of the media, teammates would simply say his defining trait was he “thinks about the game”; both settings were founded in respect and now Arteta is poised to find out if he can wield the same influence in a role for which he has spent years preparing.

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