News from Arsenal

UPPING THE SANTI
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There’s one thing about Arsenal’s Spanish midfield maestro that never changes – his smile. But plenty of other things have changed for Santi Cazorla since he joined the club in 2012, including his role in both the team and the squad.

“I’m a bit more of a veteran, it’s true!” he exclaims. But it doesn’t mean you have to be coming to the end of your career to help the younger members of the squad, and 31-year-old Santi is quite comfortable with the tag. “Me, when I was young, I always looked to the veterans of the team to say how it was, so I try to be an example, give younger players advice and tell them to seize their opportunity.”
He has plenty of experience to draw on, and had played across the midfield before settling into a slightly more withdrawn role in recent times – despite being asked to play as a number 10 against Leicester City recently. “It was a little strange because, when you play a different position, you have to get used to the little details again… playing between the lines, playing in between a defence and midfielders, taking up a position where you can do damage to the opposition defence,” he says.
It isn’t just Santi who’s changed since he joined the club. He believes the Premier League is very different these days – in a good way.
“It’s going through a revolution in some senses. For example, the first year I arrived at Arsenal, everyone said to me, ’When we go to play Stoke City away, you’ll see what the Premier League is,’ and you go to play Stoke City now and they have spectacular players, who want to play the ball. That also shows the Premier League – and football in general – is looking for a more controlled style, a style of creativity, and that is good for everyone.”
What’s even better for Gunners fans is that Santi has now fully recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him last November – and that he already looks better than ever.

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