Joe Willock defends Mikel Arteta being called by his first name

Joe Willock has defended Arsenal players after Roy Keane slammed Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for calling Mikel Arteta by his first name.

Aubameyang had called Arteta “Mikel” in his post-match interview after Arsenal beat Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Keane said it was disrespectful of him to do that because he and Arteta weren’t mates and he needed to respect his gaffer.

However, Willock has claimed that calling the Spaniard by his first name wasn’t a sign of disrespect, rather, it showed the close nature of their relationship with their manager.

He claimed that it was obvious that all the players at the club had so much respect for their manager considering the amazing work that he has done at the club for the short period that he has been their manager.

‘As you know we all really, really respect the manager,’ Willock said when Keane’s comments were put to him as quoted by Metro.

‘What he’s done over the 10 months he’s been here is mind-blowing and we can only hold our hats off to him and that’s something that we talk about. 

‘We talk about the big respect we have for him in the changing room so I don’t think that’s a lack of respect; it’s just the relationship we each have with him.’

Keane is stuck back in the noughties and ’90s, it is different today and managers and players relationships are different, the days of dictatorial managers are over with. These days it is all about collaboration.

Tags Joe Willock Mikel Arteta Roy Keane


  1. totally agree Martin, Keane is stuck in the dark ages.
    Plus all he wants to do is pick for picking’s sake if you get me.

    I for one always mute the half time talk if he’s on the box, same with Owen, 2 people i really cant stand watching on TV.

  2. It’s not a big deal sure but then Auba and the players should respect themselves and show courtesy.
    If not for anything, just show that respect in public

    1. Maybe you should listen to arteta interview yesterday on the issue, he said he told them to call him Mikel.

    2. Spot on my guy , Mikel might have said that because he doesn’t want to disrupt his team. These players should respect themselves too

  3. What I want to know is, is the manager himself offended? I don’t think so and it’s not the first an Arsenal player mentions that name in an interview.

    Some people don’t fancy titles and I think MA is part of those people.

    Its no sign of disrespect.

  4. I have heard worse.
    Our resident Twitter influencer told Emery; “Wallah you are not a manager”.

    Talk about disrespect.

    1. Goonster are you sure about that because this is the first I’m hearing of something like this 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  5. “I was told that Roy mentioned that,” said the Arsenal boss ahead of his side’s Europa League meeting with Molde on Thursday night. “I think it is something very in particular.

    “I give them the choice to call me whatever they feel comfortable with. With some of them obviously I shared a dressing room. There are people at the training ground who call me boss or coach. The French guys call me coach. It depends. It’s not an issue for me.

    “I don’t feel disrespected. I understand why he is saying that as a player, but the way I feel with them – and I feel so close with them, with some of them I played with – so for me it is not an issue and it is not the way I would feel respected or disrespected.”
    “It is something that both parties have to understand, respect and go about the relationship in the same way. To be fair they made it really, really easy for me in that sense. Obviously the feelings I have for them won’t change whether I am on one side or the other, because at the end we are part of the same thing.” Mikel Arteta.
    So to all those saying auba disrespect him, they can now take it easy.

  6. They just few years apart and captain who often is like coach partner. They connect that way and have no issue, only one is make one of none..

  7. Mikel obviously not making an issue of this – but something tells me he’ll feel he’s “arrived” when called “Boss or Gaffer” for the first time.

    Bucking the “younger” trend on here – but as above, it’s “Boss” or “Gaffer” for me.

  8. If MA is fine when he is called by his first name, than no problem. Keen is just creating an issue out of nothing. The players have huge respect for Arteta and as Shakespeare said “Whats in a name”. The mutual respect and discipline is important and it is all very fine. Probably Keen is mugged about the fact that the Manks were beaten at Old Trashford.

  9. The bottom line is that I am with the overwhelming, possible total, majority who dismiss Keanes remarks as the last gasps of a dinosaur liuving in the wrong historical era.

    As an older fan, and as other older fans will also remember, I shudder when I recall the old, ridid, class system of all adults being Mr, Mrs, Miss(though Master referred to a male child) and when first names were never used in classrooms by teachers and a climate of enforced “respect” was rife.

    This was IMO , very unhealthy and divided people into “tribes”, which is one of the most harmful things we humans do to our fellow humans. It is,in essence, the evil of TRUMPISM, aka US and THEM. And guess what, US are always right and THEM are always wrong! Except that is a lie!

    Well, that is the way to make the planet more dangerous and to start wars. It is what I have been actively, all my adult life, at street level when younger and in Parliamentary lobbying, been fighting against.

    It is a way to divide people and as such MUST be fought. First names imply a sense of comradeship with others whereas surnames imply remoteness and formality.

    I realise many of my generation do not like or will not permit the now common usage of first names and I do NOT agree with them it, nor share their opinions, for the reasons above.

    Now to MA, and Aubas use of his first name; I do notice that whenever a manager is on TV, the journos automatically use first names and NO ONE says the journos are disrespecting them! Nor should they. Nor will they, because the whole Keane dinosaur theory of respect coming from surnames is of course nonsense.

    The vast majority of evolved humans have understood this for ages and do it naturally. But a very few sad dinosaurs persist in trying to make others live in the past with them. That battle was lost, mercifully, ages ago, never to reappear in normal society And thank God for that say I.

    As for Keane , there is an expression which says “give a person enough rope and they will hang themselves”.

    I suggest that, metaphorically, he has just done so! I doubt many will mourn him!

    1. Jon
      Interesting that you should refer to the old ways. We are, I believe of similar ages, and I was always encouraged to address older folk who were friends of my parents as ‘auntie’ or ‘uncle’ despite there being no blood relationship.
      It has never sat easy with me (this entire sir/madam hierarchical stuff and anyone who has ever worked for me has been asked not to refer to me as either ‘boss’ or some such and instead use my first name. The same has always applied to my only niece and her children – first name only.
      Respect for someone is better shown by how you treat them, not how you address them.

      1. Ingleby, So true and I could not agree more.
        In fact, if we wind back much further than when we were kids, right back to Victorian and Edwardian times, the rigid class structure was far more rigid, stricter and more cruel, even than in our younger days. That did so much harm to mankind and a class system effectively means looking down on someone who you consider inferior in status to you. A wicked outlook onlife and I use “wicked” , ironically perhaps, in its original meaning.

        I also think that status and what it entails is a harmful concept. It involves judging others by wealth, education, accent, clothing, possessions, etc rather then what is in their heart and soul, which SHOULD be all that matters.

        1. Jon
          So true, I’ve always had a sneaking admiration for the French revolutionaries (not for the carnage that ensued) who I believe were genuinely intent on overthrowing a corrupt repressive regime. Unfortunately, as with so many other idealistic revolts, the immediate replacement for the ‘ancien regime’ was probably just as bad. Which bings me full circle to Roy Keane. His apparent inability to accept a more relaxed professional environment makes me wonder if it is a symptom of a person who is a bully by nature and can only enjoy life in an antagonistic and repressive environment.

          1. Ingleby, I’d suggest he knows deep down that he has not the people skills, nor the ability to take himself less than too seriously. He knows the game inside out but social developments have left him behind and his aggression is caused, in part, by frustration at knowing that a man with his football knowledge and former pedigree as a player will never land a key managerial job ever again.

            He is not even a good pundit, as his obvious MU bias shows through, causing him to sound bitter and a little unbalanced. He has a reputation as a maverick but that means he will never be a regular and mainstream pundit, like Redknapp, Jenas, etc and all those with obvious social skills.

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