Ronald de Boer believes Mikel Arteta has the potential to succeed at Arsenal, despite the risk taken on his inexperience.

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Ronald de Boer and Mikel Arteta spent a couple of seasons together during their playing career. They both played for Rangers in the 2002/03 and 2003/04 seasons, albeit at different ends of their careers, before both moving on in 2004.

De Boer now works as an assistant manager with Ajax A1, whilst Arteta starts his new role as Arsenal’s head coach today. Looking back, de Boer says even in those early days, he got a sense Arteta could move onto a career in coaching.

“Mikel had an old head on young shoulders,” de Boer said in The Sunday Post. ” I think he was just coming up for 20 at that time, but he played with the maturity and tactical discipline of a 30-year-old.

“You can never be certain, but I did get a feeling – even back then when he was so young – that he had a desire to get into coaching. That has turned out to be the case.”

Mikel Arteta via @Arsenal (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Even so, taking the job as Arsenal head coach is a big step. Most coaches don’t start their managerial career with the top job at one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Particularly when that club needs so much improvement.

De Boer admits it’s a risky decision, but he believes the Spaniard can find success with Arsenal.

“It is a risk for him. This is a little bit dangerous,” de Boer continued. “All credit to him, though, for going for it. I have a lot of time for Mikel as a person. He has integrity and honour.

“I believe he can be very successful at Arsenal, and get them back as a regular top-four force in England. But he will need to be given the proper time. It might take four or five transfer windows to get it to the level he wants.”

Any regular viewer of recent Arsenal matches should understand the need for time and patience. It’s encouraging to hear de Boer speaking positively about what Arteta can achieve though.