Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he was concerned with how the players might address him before he arrived at Arsenal in the wake of recent comments from Roy Keane.
Keane criticised Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s post-match interview after the Arsenal striker referred to Arteta as “Mikel”.
“They didn’t show him respect when they called him by his name Mikel. He is the manager, the boss, the gaffer. That’s respect. Not Mikel,” blasted Keane.
But Arteta insists he has no problem with his players calling him by his first name.
The Spaniard believes there is plenty of respect for him at The Emirates and pointed out that he played alongside numerous of his players.
“I was told that Roy mentioned that,” Arteta said ahead of Thursday’s Europa League clash with Molde.
“I give them the choice to call me whatever they feel comfortable with. With some of them obviously I shared a dressing room.
“For me, I don’t feel disrespected. I understand why he is saying that as a player, but the way I feel with them – and I feel so close with them, with some of them I played with – so for me it is not an issue and it is not the way I would feel respected or disrespected.”
The 38-year-old did admit that he was worried about what his players would call him before he arrived at The Emirates in December 2019.
Arteta added: “It is something that before I joined I was a bit concerned with, and at the moment I am not. Because I think it is not just something that has to come from me.
Willock: Arteta has respect of players
“It is something that both parties have to understand, respect and go about the relationship in the same way. To be fair they made it really, really easy for me in that sense.
“Obviously the feelings I have for them won’t change whether I am on one side or the other, because at the end we are part of the same thing. But it has not been something difficult to manage.
“I leave them the choice. There are people at the training ground who call me boss or coach. The French guys call me coach. It depends. It’s not an issue for me.”
Arteta was joined in his news conference by Joe Willock and he echoed the boss’ sentiments.
Willock said: “We all really, really respect the manager. What he has done in the 10 months he has been here has been mind blowing.
“We talk about it in the changing rooms and there’s never a lack of respect.”