Nacho Monreal didn’t expect Mikel Arteta to go into coaching so fast, but the left-back knew his old teammate would end up as a manager eventually.
Mikel Arteta is now closing in on a year in the job at Arsenal, after taking over from Freddie Ljungberg last December. He’s won an FA Cup and a Community Shield, but the team are in a bit of a rough patch in the league right now.
All the same, anyone who speaks about Arteta’s coaching is always full of praise. They clearly think he’s an intelligent manager with a bright future, even if Arsenal aren’t showing it to the full on the pitch right now.
Former Gunner Nacho Monreal is among those who believe in Arteta, even if he was surprised to see his old teammate get the Arsenal job so soon. Sid Lowe of The Guardian asked the left-back if Arteta always showed the qualities to be a manager.
“Yes,” Monreal replied. “You could see it. He was a leader, a captain. He expressed himself very well, spoke in every meeting, knowledgeably. He communicated well. He was doing his badges, telling us his vocation was coaching.
“He was bright, tactically he understood, he grasped everything. That said, so fast? No. I didn’t expect that. But he will have learned with Guardiola. He’s brought fresh air and will grow more.”
It must be a bit strange for Monreal, who is still a regular starter in La Liga with Real Sociedad, to see a former teammate who is just four years older than him almost a year into managing a club like Arsenal.
Now Arteta needs to prove over the long term that it was the right choice to bring him in so early on in this stage of his career.