Arteta: I want to play for as long as Beckham

The Spaniard insists he has no regrets about leaving Everton to join Arsenal, and hopes to prolong his top-level playing career as much as the 37-year-old PSG man

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has revealed he hopes to match the achievement of Paris Saint-Germain star David Beckham in prolonging his top-level playing career into his late 30s.

Beckham, who trained with the Gunners in January prior to moving to France, has applied himself with distinction since joining Carlo Ancelotti’s squad despite his advances years.

Arteta admits he has been inspired by the 37-year-old’s longevity, though he admits it may be hard to replicate at Arsenal, given Arsene Wenger’s preference for youth over experience.

“Beckham is tremendous,” he told the Evening Standard.
“The changes he made, in different countries and different cultures as well, that is tiring, moving your family from one side to the other.

“When people criticised him when he played for Paris St-Germain against Barcelona, I could not believe it.

“What he is doing is absolutely fantastic. He trained with us in January and to see how professional he is was unbelievable.

“I talked to him and everybody who talks about him says the same. He wants to get better and better.

“I will stay on in the game as long as my legs are good and the emotions I have every time I train and play stay intact.

“I couldn’t be cheating myself by going there and just hiding. I don’t know how long it is going to last but I started when I was 17 and so it has been a long time now.”

Arteta has started 28 league games this season – second only to Santi Cazorla (31) – and says he is happy playing his football at the Emirates.

“My family are happy here so I think I made the right choice coming [to the club] and that is not disrespectful to Everton,” he added.

“I felt it was my time to leave after what I did there and go on to a different challenge.”

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