‘Arteta always had great managerial potential’ – Arsenal success no surprise to Bendtner

Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2019-20
The former Gunners striker saw enough in the Spaniard’s playing days to suggest that he was capable of becoming a top coach

Mikel Arteta “always had great managerial potential”, says Nicklas Bendtner, with the Spaniard’s success at Arsenal coming as no surprise to a former team-mate.

A Danish striker was on the Gunners’ books when a classy midfielder was first taken to north London in 2011.

Arteta would go on to become club captain at Emirates Stadium, spending five years at Arsenal before hanging up his boots.

Coaching teeth were then cut alongside Pep Guardiola at Manchester City before heading out on his own in December 2019.

The Gunners’ decision to turn to a familiar face for inspiration has delivered an immediate return, with FA Cup and Community Shield honours claimed.

A top-four finish is also being chased down in 2020-21, with a fallen giant considered to be getting back on its feet.

Bendtner never had any doubt that Arteta could be the man to get Arsenal moving in the right direction again, with leadership skills and tactical nous having been on full display in his playing days.

The former Gunners frontman told the ‘In Lockdown’ podcast: “It’s just his whole persona.

“The way he always tried to improve not just himself, but everyone around him; the young players and the senior players.

“The way he carried himself and just his personality in general, you just knew that he would be a manager one day.

“Already now the stuff he is doing with Arsenal, you can see him trying to put his own footprints on the team and doing it his way.

“I really hope that he will be successful because I would love to see Arsenal go back in among trophies. He always had great managerial potential.”

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Arteta has seen his Arsenal side collect nine points from their opening four Premier League games this season.

There is still room for improvement within their performances, as they seek to find the consistency that has been lacking from their game for so long, but positive steps forward are being taken.

They are, however, set to face another stern test of their credentials when returning to domestic action after the international break, with Arteta set to take in a reunion with Guardiola and City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.