Van Persie believes Mikel Arteta has the potential to become 'great'

‘Mikel Arteta has the potential to become great’: Robin van Persie claims he knew Arsenal boss could reach the very top as a coach even after watching just a handful of his training sessions

  • Mikel Arteta has had a positive start as Arsenal manager, winning the FA Cup 
  • The boss and Robin van Persie were team-mates together in the 2011-12 season
  • The Dutchman believes Arteta has the potential to be a ‘great’ as a manager 

Mikel Arteta was a good player but has the potential to become ‘a great manager’, according to former Arsenal team-mate Robin van Persie. 

The pair played together in the 2011-12 season before the Dutchman left to join Manchester United, while Arteta stayed with the Gunners for another four years, becoming club captain and helping them win two FA Cup trophies.

The Spanish playmaker retired in 2016 to become Pep Guardiola’s No 2 at Manchester City, before returning to Arsenal as boss in December and delivering the Gunners’ 14th FA Cup trophy in a positive first campaign as a manager. 

Mikel Arteta has delivered Arsenal an FA Cup trophy in his first season as a manager

Former team-mate Robin van Persie says the Spaniard has potential to be ‘great’ as a manager

Van Persie said the 38-year-old was impressive enough as a player but showed even in the first few training sessions as a manager that he has bags of potential as the man in the hotseat.

‘He was a good player,’ Van Persie said of Arteta to Stats Perform News. ‘He was always fit, he connected play, he got his goals. He was good.​

‘As a coach I do think he has the potential to become great. I said that even after watching the first couple of training sessions, or bits of it. The way he comes across in the media, the way he makes his team play. It’s very promising, very positive.’ 

The pair were Arsenal team-mates in the 2011-12 season before Van Persie left for Man United

Arteta inherited a team in disarray when he took over after previous manager Unai Emery seemed to have lost the dressing room, but the team has shown visible improvements under the new guidance.

Despite this, the Gunners finished eighth in the Premier League — their lowest in the competition since 1995.

And after salvaging the season and delivering an unlikely trophy with a squad he has inherited, Van Persie feels fans need to have patience as Arteta looks to mould the side in the way he wants it, but can rest assured knowing they are heading in the right direction.

Van Persie said he could see Arteta was a rare breed even in his first few training sessions

‘He needs time,’ Van Persie added. ‘Sometimes you look at teams or you look at a coach and think: “Ok, this coach could have 200 years and it would not happen.”

‘When I look at Mikel, I do see change, I see the positive changes and little things happening.

‘How they work together, how they defend together. They are a shorter distance together. Going forward but defensively too. They have got better at defending set-pieces which was always an issue.’

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