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“Even Arsene Wenger feared Arteta” — Theo Walcott



"Arsene Wenger feared Arteta" -- Theo Walcott

Former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has shared a remarkable story involving current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during his playing days at the Emirates, one that highlights the formidable presence of he had that even former manager, Arsene Wenger feared.

Walcott’s account, recounted on William Hill’s podcast “Up Front with Simon Jordan,” sheds light on an incident that left legendary manager Arsene Wenger momentarily intimidated by Arteta.

Arteta joined Arsenal from Everton in 2011 and spent five years with the Gunners before retiring and embarking on his coaching career under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. He was appointed Arsenal manager in 2019 and has since rejuvenated the team, transforming them back into Premier League title contenders.

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“The turning point for me in terms of how I viewed Mikel Arteta was an experience I had with him as a player at Arsenal,” Walcott said.

“It was at a time when we weren’t making the top four. We had training in 30 minutes, and he locked all the players in the dressing room as if he was the manager. He was taking control of the whole space and telling us how it is. In that moment, it was like he was the manager, and that was the turning point for me.”

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Walcott’s story highlights Arteta’s leadership and commanding presence even as a player, qualities that foreshadowed his future in management.

“That’s when I thought he could go on to be a manager,” Walcott continued. “Arsene Wenger was waiting for us to come outside for training, but we weren’t coming out because Mikel stopped the training session. He was such a strong character that even Arsene was afraid of him.”