Mikel Arteta believes the approach legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger took to life in the hot seat paved the way for his players to follow him into coaching
Arsene Wenger lit a managerial fire inside Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira that will burn brightly at the Emirates tomorrow.
Arsenal legend Vieira takes his Crystal Palace side back to his old stamping ground determined to get a much-needed victory over the club with whom he enjoyed so much success in the late Nineties and Noughties.
But standing in the opposite technical area will be one of his successors in the Gunners’ midfield and the man now charged with returning the club to a position from which they can regularly challenge for major honours.
Arteta said: “We were all guided and, in a way, felt a different way about the game because we had Arsene as a manager.
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“He started a fire in us to be a coach.
“Not only me or Patrick, but many others, with his way of treating everybody of the club and how he felt about the game.”
Thierry Henry, Glenn Hoddle, Sol Campbell, Tony Adams, Remi Garde, Gio van Bronkhorst and Steve Morrow are among those who also played under Wenger and went on to become managers.
While Marc Overmars has enjoyed success as director of football at Ajax.
Arteta added: “Is there a pressure of being compared to him?
“You have no choice. Or you have the choice to say, ‘No, I don’t want to take that job because they always want to compare with me’.
“But if you know what you want to do and feel capable of achieving what you think you can achieve for that club, through what they are demanding you to do in the role, it’s your decision to take it up.”
Arteta and Vieira never shared a dressing-room at Arsenal but as well as being former Gunners, they both took their first steps in coaching at Manchester City.
Arteta added: “When I joined City, he had left to go to one of the sister clubs — he was given the opportunity in New York because they knew what he was capable of doing.
“People spoke really highly of him.
“I haven’t spent a lot of time with him, I met him a couple of times, but everything I heard about Patrick, whether it’s at Arsenal or when I was at City, was always very positive.”
Vieira was a key man in Arsenal’s last title triumph and Arteta is keen to ensure they don’t have to wait too long for the next one.
He said: “Well, hopefully not another 17 years, as it’s been a long, long time.
“I’m always positive to think that there are different ways to do it and you can still become what you are dreaming of.
“But the competition Arsenal had, and where they were in terms of being favourites to win the league, to right now — the context is totally different.
“It is very difficult to compare.
“And you can mention now that Newcastle can be another candidate in the next few years depending on the direction they show.”