• Premier League

Arteta: Right decision to leave Everton

ESPN staff
April 16, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
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Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta believes his ability to hold down a regular first-team spot at Emirates Stadium proves he was right to leave Everton in 2011.

Arteta's switch to the Gunners came as a surprise to many, and the Spaniard has admitted that even he was not sure if he would establish himself as a constant in Arsene Wenger's starting line-up.

However, the 31-year-old has done just that, also captaining Arsenal at times this season in the absence of regular skipper Thomas Vermaelen.

"It has gone probably better than I expected," Arteta told the Evening Standard. "When you come to a club like Arsenal, you expect to find it very tough.

"I didn't know how much I was going to play but to get in the team and play the amount of games I have in the last two years in unbelievable. The way I have got on with the players, the staff and the fans has been great.

"My family are happy here so I think I made the right choice coming [to the club] and that is not disrespectful to Everton. I felt it was my time to leave after what I did there and go on to a different challenge."

Arteta comes up against his former club at The Emirates on Tuesday and ahead of his 29th start of the season was full of praise for his old boss David Moyes.

"He is a manager who really looks after the players, not only in football terms but any time you have a problem, he is always behind you," Arteta said. "What he does with the group is amazing because sometimes, when I was there, we had 12 or 13 players training.

"It was very small squads all the time because Everton cannot manage to pay 24 good wages. The way he takes everything out of the players and keeps demanding more of them without killing them psychologically, it is a very difficult thing to do as a manager."

Arteta established himself as a creative attacking player at Goodison Park but has found himself playing in a deeper role at Arsenal, something he says he has no problem with.

"Sometimes when I watch old videos from when I was at Everton, I see I was playing left wing, right wing and the way I have to play now is very different," Arteta said. "But when I started my career at Barcelona and Paris St-Germain, I used to play there with a lot of creative players in front of me and I enjoyed a different role. You have a lot of responsibility there but I enjoy it now.

"Sometimes people say to me, 'Mikel, you can go forward, score goals and be in the headlines,' but we have a lot of good players who can do that already. Sometimes you need to know that if you can help in another position and make the rest better, that is the best thing to do."

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