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I played 152 games with Mikel Arteta – but the manager he has become at Arsenal is not my friend

MIKEL ARTETA’S former Everton team-mate Tim Howard has opened up about his friendship with the Arsenal manager.

The ex-Toffees goalkeeper revealed the man Arteta has become at the Gunners is “not my friend”.

Tim Howard has opened up about his friendship with Mikel Arteta

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Tim Howard has opened up about his friendship with Mikel ArtetaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Howard played 152 games alongside the Arsenal manager

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Howard played 152 games alongside the Arsenal managerCredit: Getty

Howard, now 45, played 152 games alongside Arteta at Everton from 2007-2011.

Now working as a reporter, the American revealed whenever he interviews the Gunners boss he is unrecognisable to how he was back in his playing days.

Writing for the Daily Mail, he said: “I have interviewed him a few times as a manager and every time, before the cameras start rolling, it has just been like the old days.

“He calls me Timmy, there’s a lot of smiling and giggling. It’s all very casual. It’s the Mikel I shared a dressing room with.

“But then the interview starts, he goes into game-mode and he has to be the person that he wants to portray.

“That’s not my friend. That’s Mikel the manager. He has changed.”

Arteta spent six years at Everton, with his first season spent on loan, before signing a deal worth £2million to play under David Moyes.

And it was at Goodison Park that the Spaniard grew into a pivotal and influential player, winning Everton Player of the Season twice.

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He was also voted the Premier League’s ‘Midfielder of the Year’ by the viewers of Sky Sports, beating PFA Players’ Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo to the award.

Howard revealed that Arteta had a huge influence in the dressing room and even called him Moyes’ “Crown Jewels”.

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He continued: “In fact, Moyes made sure that he heaped a ton of responsibility on Mikel – to lead the team and direct us tactically.

“He wanted the responsibility and he was able to shoulder it. He was Moyes’ midfield general, his tactician, his little technical genius.

“The gaffer loved him. He could do no wrong in Moyes’ eyes.”

In 2011, Arteta headed south to Arsenal for £10m and spent five years there before he hung up his boots for good.

Then, in 2019, he returned to Arsenal as head coach and won the FA Cup in his first year – with the Gunners now fighting to win the Premier League title this season.

Arteta has made Arsenal his own in the last five years according to Howard, who no longer recognises his old pal.

He added: “Mikel is different now. He has changed… but I think in a very good way.

“As a manager, you have to figure out what your voice is going to be and how you want to project yourself.”

Howard referred to Arteta as David Moyes 'Crown Jewels'

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Howard referred to Arteta as David Moyes ‘Crown Jewels’Credit: Getty

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