Ray Parlour has joined the many voices that have sided with Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard removed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from his team to face Tottenham yesterday.
The Gabon striker is Arsenal’s captain and arguably their best player, but he turned up late for a team meeting before the game.
This was the latest off-field problem he has had at the club this season and Arteta sent him and his other players a message.
Parlour says the Spaniard was right to have benched him and also lauded him for dealing with the matter internally.
He said the way Arteta handled the issue without bringing it out in the public will give other players confidence that their problems would be handled maturely.
“I totally agree with Mikel Arteta, nobody is bigger than the team,” Parlour told Talksport.
“I know Aubameyang is a very important player, captain as well, you’ve got to lead by example.
“There’s no excuse for being late. I think Arteta did a really good interview after the game, saying it’s dealt with and Aubameyang is available for Thursday. The matter’s closed.
“That’s what you’ve got to do, it stays in the dressing room.
“Why should Mikel Arteta start opening a can of worms? The public don’t need to know.
“Everyone will be a bit scared now, knowing they can’t be late. If he gets away with it and someone else is late, and they get dropped, then there’s a problem in the dressing room.
“I think it was the right thing to do. It could’ve gone wrong but you’ve stamp your authority and say you can’t do that.
“I think it’s disrespectful to the other players as well.”
Arteta is expected to bring the striker back into the team when Arsenal face Olympiacos in the Europa League on Thursday.
Aubagoal will be angry at being dropped and he can use that as a motivation to down the Greeks.