Mikel Arteta believes the serious injury he picked up while playing for Everton against Newcastle was one of the biggest challenges he faced in his career while he also admits seriously considering taking the Newcastle job before Steve Bruce was appointed.
Arsenal face Newcastle United on Sunday when they return from their mini mid-season break.
Ahead of the game, Arteta has been talking about the knee injury he picked up at St James’ Park at the start of 2009 that ruled him out for 332 days/48 Everton games.
“It was one of the toughest parts of my professional career but the one I learned most from” Arteta said.
“I took a lot from that. It was a big challenge, at some stages I thought it was going to be over when I had an infection and they didn’t know what it was and it was looking bad.
“It took me almost a year to get back to playing. After I recovered my form, I started to perform well and I joined Arsenal.
“I think it was a good thing. At the time I could not see it. But it was a very challenging time in my career that I had to go over.
“And I had to rebuild myself to do that.
“Now when I see Calum and what he’s going through, I know exactly how tough the first four or five weeks are on that injury, how the process is afterwards.
“I want to be close with them because I think it makes an impact and it’s helpful for them. I know how hard it is.”
Arteta also admitted he considered taking the Newcastle job but thinks the Magpies are happy they ended up with Steve Bruce.
“I was considering a situation at Newcastle that could change my professional and personal life,” Arteta added.
“I had to put everything on the table to make that decision. I made the decision to stay where I was at the time.
“I believe that Newcastle are happy.
“What Steve has brought to the club has been really, really good.
“The performances and results, compared to where they were last year, they are above any expectation.
“He has put together a team with great spirit and is a manager with massive, massive experience.”