Kim Kallstrom spent a short time in North London with Arsenal, but he remembers the impact that Mikel Arteta had on the team even then, whilst the now-boss was a player.
The former Swedish international claimed that joining our club was a different experience, having joined on a short-term loan deal, but that he fitted in quite well.
“I had signed for a few teams in my career but it was definitely a different approach going into the dressing room as a January loan signing,” he said.
“Everyone there knew I was only there as a back-up option because they were lacking bodies so to speak. Outside of football, you don’t have a permanent residence, I just treated it like an adventure.
“There were a lot of French players there and obviously the boss, lots of people around the club who could speak French too.
“I speak French because of my time at Lyon so that helped. I’d made my name in France, so that made it easier because they recognised me – and Nicklas Bendtner was there so I could speak Swedish and Danish with him. It made it a bit easier to adapt fast.”
Kallstrom moved onto reveal how the other players had their impact on his experience, and names Mikel Arteta as the most professional player he had trained with, even more-so that the legendary Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
“There were also a couple of players who were injured at the same time as me. Aaron Ramsey was one of them. In one way it was good to have that experience with an injury because you’re at the training ground a lot more and you meet all the people around the club. When the players left, I stayed after training to make sure I had a good rehab,” he added.
“I was surrounded by Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, these guys who were so skilful. It was nice to see them every day at work.
“People are so professional. I played alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic for a long time and he’s a real pro, but then I came here and I saw how professional Mikel Arteta is… wow. He is so committed to the game and so engaged with it as well, I learned a lot just from watching him.”
A number of players have previously been impressed by Arteta and the impact he had as a player on the training ground, and it appears unlikely that any will have been surprised by his impressive start as head coach at Arsenal.
Our team instantly looked better under the influence of the Spaniard, and the results are now showing. We’ve strung three wins together for the first time this season, and will be keen to get back into the swing of things once this is all over.