Moyes praises Arteta leadership
By Football News
Everton manager David Moyes believes Mikel Arteta has established himself as Arsenal's leader since his mover from the Merseyside club.
The Spaniard joined the Gunners on transfer deadline day in 2011 for 10 million pounds and has since settled in seamlessly at the Emirates.
Moyes said he never doubted what a sound professional Arteta was, but said it was with a tinge of sadness that he would see him return to Goodison Park on Wednesday in an Arsenal jersey.
"I'm not surprised. He is a very gifted footballer, he is a great lad to work with," Moyes said.
"I think (Arsenal) manager (Arsene Wenger) was probably surprised what he offers: he is a great professional, a really good footballer and I'll be delighted to see him back - just disappointed it is in an Arsenal jersey.
"I see Mikel now and when they are having a bit of a huddle he is the one who is the leader and I think they look to him, he has taken on a lot of the leadership qualities in that side.
"He was part of the rebuilding process that had to take place at Everton when we tried to develop the team and move it on."
Everton initially took Arteta on loan from Spanish side Real Sociedad after a failed stint with Rangers and oversaw his development into one of the best playmakers in the Premier League.
"We took Mikel on loan from Real Sociedad after he'd been at Rangers and it hadn't quite worked for him," he said.
"We were a bit unsure when he first came here. He was a bit lightweight to play in the middle and so we played him off the side and he was great there for us, he really was.
"Eventually he moved on to be a real key figure in that period and was a big part of us developing and moving Everton forward."
Everton are unbeaten in the league at home since losing to Arsenal way back in March, and Moyes is hopes their home fortress can pave the way to a European place at the end of the season.
"We are going to try to push. A club like Everton are not out of their depth in Europe and we have to try to push to do that as we've missed out the last couple of years," he said.
"Arsenal are a good team and that is why they continually finish in a Champions League spot so it is a tough game. We have been playing quite well and no-one gets an easy time at Goodison."
Everton are in fifth spot in the Premier League table, a point ahead of Arsenal.