The former Everton midfielder worked with the Spaniard during his playing days at Goodison Park and believes he benefited from a spell at Man City
Mikel Arteta has always been “ahead of his time” and a “student of the game”, says Leon Osman, with the Arsenal boss expected to have “improved” further after working with Pep Guardiola.
The Spaniard took up a coaching post at Manchester City after deciding to hang up his boots.
He is still just 37 years of age, but already finds himself filling one of the most demanding roles in English football.
Arsenal moved to bring their former captain back to Emirates Stadium after taking the decision to part with Unai Emery.
A familiar face has made an encouraging start to life in the dugout, prior to contracting Covid-19 and seeing football shut down, and has helped to raise morale again in north London.
Osman, who played alongside Arteta at Everton, is not surprised to see a former team-mate doing so well as he has always displayed leadership skills and tactical nous.
The ex-Toffees midfielder told The Sportsman of the current Gunners boss: “He was a really good player, technically fantastic, his delivery, his attitude, he’d probably be in the top three or four (of players played with).
“What he brought to Everton was a change in attitude off the pitch. That culture, he was the point in football, the foreign players changed things but he improved standards, no drinking, real professionalism, extra care in what he ate. How well he could be playing, so fit and you wanted to be at that standard too.
“He was ahead of his time, he was a student of the game and I always felt he would go into management because he sees the game in a good way, he’s tactically very good and became captain with his leadership quality.
“To see him with Pep Guardiola, the education he will have got in that stint as assistant manager will have improved him. People are saying nothing but good things about his first decisions and what he’s done.”
Arteta has overseen an unbeaten run for Arsenal in Premier League competition during 2020 but they still sit ninth in the table, eight points adrift of the Champions League places.
That gap could be bridged if competitive action resumes, while the Gunners are also through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – where they are due to face Sheffield United.