I was Mikel Arteta’s teammate – there’s a reason the Arsenal boss is not my friend

Mikel Arteta has been praised for his transformation from ‘teacher’s pet’ to ‘steel’ by his former Everton teammate Tim Howard, who has seen the Arsenal boss change

Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta gesticulates during the UEFA Champions League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between Arsenal FC and FC Porto at Emirates Stadium on March 12, 2024 in London, England

Mikel Arteta’s former Everton teammate, Tim Howard, has shared how the Arsenal boss has transformed since their time at Goodison Park.

Howard, who played alongside Arteta for five years in Merseyside under David Moyes, always saw signs that his former teammate had the intensity to excel in a top coaching role. While Arteta has climbed the ranks in the coaching world, Howard has transitioned his football career into media.

In this new role, Howard has noticed that Arteta has thoughtfully crafted his image as a head coach – and switches quickly into ‘game-mode’ when speaking to the former goalkeeper due to his role in the media. He wrote in the Mail: “I played 152 games alongside Mikel at Everton – only Phil Neville and Leon Osman played more with him during his entire career.

“I have interviewed him a few times as a manager and every time, before the cameras start rolling, it has just been like the old days: he calls me Timmy, there’s a lot of smiling and giggling. It’s all very casual. It’s the Mikel I shared a dressing room with.

“But then the interview starts, he goes into game-mode and he has to be the person that he wants to portray. That’s not my friend. That Mikel the manager. He has changed.

“When I first got to Everton, he was one of Moyes’ Crown Jewels. He was far and away our best footballer. He was a really good guy and a really engaging guy. But Mikel was always somebody who took soccer very, very seriously. There was never an off day.

“He was meticulous in the dressing room, in the canteen, and on the bus. He was always studying film or talking tactics. He was someone to look up to, to mirror your lifestyle on.”

Howard says Arteta was simultaneously ‘teacher’s pet’ but ‘definitely one of the boys’, whereas now the Spaniard appears to carefully manage his persona. The United States’ most capped player reckons that is only a positive for Arsenal and Arteta however.

“Mikel is different now,” he said, “He has changed… but I think in a very good way. As a manager, you have to figure out what your voice is going to be and how you want to project yourself. These days, he’s quite closed off and he doesn’t give away a lot of secrets. That is not a surprise – he’s been schooled under Pep at Manchester City.

“When you look at who he’s become as a manager, he absolutely has a sprinkle of Moyes, too. Mikel had the guile, the tactical awareness and the magical feet. But David and his teams always had a steeliness – and he turned Mikel into a hard-nosed midfielder.”

Former Manchester United goalie Tim Howard has shared that Mikel Arteta was a big voice in the dressing room when they were at Everton. He said Arteta was not scared to speak up about tactics.



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