Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is back with the club to keep fit and take part in training sessions, and it’s given him the opportunity to get a closer look at the job Mikel Arteta is doing as manager.
The Spanish tactician was highly rated as part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching team at Manchester City, but he’s not always had the easiest time of things at the Emirates Stadium.
In fairness, this was a difficult first job for Arteta to take as he ventured into management, with Arsenal clearly in decline before he arrived as the Arsene Wenger era came to a disappointing end, while Unai Emery also struggled as his initial replacement.
Wilshere clearly seems impressed with what he’s seen from Arteta, and the former England international also praised his leadership qualities from when they played together for the Gunners.
“I think he was doing a good job before I got there and then since seeing his style of coaching, I think that’s one of his strongest attributes as a manager is coaching, he’s a good coach,” Wilshere told the Daily Mirror.
“He makes it clear to the players what he wants from them and I think as well you’re starting to see that on the pitch. They have a clear philosophy and a way they want to play and I think that is credit to the manager.
“He’s a very hands-on coach, he’s on the pitch, talking to people and shouting, pulling people where he wants them and making it clear to them really.
“You can see a clear philosophy that they want to play out from the back and play the right way and I think they’re getting better at that. They’ve got a young team there that are getting better at doing that and they will continue to get better over time.
“I think there is a lot more to come from them but they’re heading in the right direction.”
On playing with Arteta, Wilshere added: “He was always like a natural leader, he wasn’t the captain when he first came, but from the first day he came in, he was talking to people on the training pitch and demanding things from players.
“As time went on and he got the armband you started to see more and more of that.”
Arsenal fans will be intrigued to get this insight from Wilshere, but as they don’t get to see what happens on the training pitch, they’ll perhaps be more judgemental based on how things look when the team is out there in competitive games.
For now, it’s far from good enough for a club of Arsenal’s size, but Wilshere’s comments suggest it might be worth being patient with Arteta and the project he’s embarking on at the Emirates Stadium.