Dani Ceballos believes Mikel Arteta has already made him a ‘much better player’ after sealing a return to Arsenal on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid.
Ceballos moved to Arsenal on a similar deal last season and established himself as an important player for the club over the second half of the campaign, thriving following the arrival of Arteta as manager and helping the Gunners to FA Cup success.
The Spain international initially took time to force his way into Arteta’s plans, however, and failed to feature during his compatriot’s first month in charge at the Emirates as he recovered from an injury lay-off, even exploring the possibility of returning to Real Madrid during the January transfer window.
After being handed an opportunity he enjoyed a strong second half of the season and was desperate to return for a second spell given his run in the side, with Ceballos speaking on his blossoming relationship with Arteta who he believes has already improved his game in recent months.
“To be honest, it wasn’t easy for him because he was coming into a dressing room that had already had two other coaches and where the team hadn’t been able to get the results that everyone wanted,” Ceballos told Arsenal.com.
“It wasn’t easy for me to get into the team either because I was coming off the back of a long injury lay-off. I felt like I should be playing but I was wrong about that because I wasn’t fit. The coach was really straight with me and said that if I got myself fit and kept working hard, I’d have a chance of getting back into the team.
“I ended up performing well and repaying the faith he’d shown in me before the Newcastle game. From that moment onwards, we started to build a good coach/player bond and things went well for me personally. I think he’s made me a much better player in the last six months.”