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Mikel Arteta has “earned the right” to be considered Arsenal’s next manager, according to his former team-mate Tim Cahill.
Former Arsenal captain Arteta is the leading contender to replace Arsene Wenger as Gunners boss despite his lack of experience in management.
The Manchester City assistant is yet to take charge of a senior game since retiring in 2016 but his leadership qualities are highly regarded both at the Emirates Stadium and by his current boss, Pep Guardiola.
Australia international Cahill is well placed to discuss Arteta’s worth as their careers at Everton dovetailed neatly. Both played their first season at Goodison Park in 2004-05, the Spaniard moving on to Arsenal in August 2011, less than a year before Cahill moved to Major League Soccer.
“The best thing for him is he’s out there learning his trade, putting in the hours that count,” Cahill told beIN Sports. “He’s taking it so seriously and he’s got great and understanding of the game.
“Who he’s working for and with know, it’s probably one of the strongest setups in the world and probably one of the best managers in the world.
“When you talk about someone like Mikel coming into a club like Arsenal, who he has already been a part of, knows the background of, he’s not someone that you would not put in the frame. Put experience and all this away… they can build something special with these ex-players who love the club and maybe someone experienced with them.
“The piece of the puzzle comes with what the coaching staff is going to be. That’s the secret for most successful managers around the world… Can he do? I’ll never say no he can’t. If the opportunity arises then it’s definitely something for him as an individual to look at because he’s earned that right.”
Arteta will be able to bring in several of his own staff after Arsenal conducted an overhaul of their setup earlier this week, with first-team coaches Boro Primorac and Neil Banfield, goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton and fitness coach Tony Colbert the most notable departures.