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Vic Akers exclusive: 'Close friend' Mikel Arteta the right appointment for Arsenal

Vic Akers texted new Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta when he was first appointed to offer his backing and urged the Spaniard to bring discipline back to the club.

The former Arsenal womens manager and men's team kit man said Arteta was the best choice for the job as the replacement for Unai Emery.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Tribal Football, Akers said: "I am good friends with Mikel having had him there as a player and a captain, we were very close and still are.

"I texted him when he got the job to wish him well and I am glad because either Arteta or Patrick Vieira would have been my choice as coach because they know the club and its values."

Arteta has had a good start to life at Arsenal and enjoyed consecutive wins over Manchester United and Leeds United, in the FA Cup, in his most recent home games.

However, Akers also had good words to say about his predecessor Emery who he felt faced a difficult job on his arrival at Arsenal.

Emery was sacked in November with Arsenal experiencing one of the worst starts in their history and having failed to qualify for the Champions League last season.

"I felt sorry for Unai Emery because he was very pleasant any time I met him but he had an issue with the language and it wasn't easy for him," he said.

"Mikel's appointment is a good one and he has already brought a discipline back to the club which is necessary and I think they will be on the up pretty shortly. If he is also able to bring players I think Arsenal will do well."

Arsenal face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday with Arteta seeking his second Premier League win as head coach.

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William Dodds

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