Arsenal have always had a blend of youth and experience in the team and since Wenger took over as manager the amount of young players has increased to the point where Mikel Arteta, at 30-years old, is one of the oldest players at the club.
It is not just his age and experience that make the Spaniard one of the best role models at the club, however, it is the way he conducts himself both on and off the field.
“On the pitch and away from it, I have been trying to behave the way I think I should because I think we have a big responsibility.
“I am still 30 and I am used to playing with guys who are 34, 35 and 36, but at Arsenal when you get to that age you are one of the oldest, if not the oldest!
“It’s a bit funny but you know inside yourself that you have that responsibility and there are kids who are 17 and 18 and they are looking to you.”
Only Tomas Rosicky and Sebastien, Andrey Arshavin and Sebastien Squillachi are older than Arteta, and only by a year or two. His maturity and professional attitude mark him out as a great example, though and Wenger is happy to have him as a role model for the youth.
His disciplinary record since becoming a Gunner is very good, especially for the position he plays, just five yellow cards so far. You never see him arguing with team mates, the manager or even opposition players. He also avoids the sort of adverse publicity that seems to be more and more common in the modern game.
“Not only for ourselves but for what we represent to other people. We are in a very lucky position and we have to take advantage of that and use it in the right way. Sometimes we make too many mistakes.”
Young players coming up through the ranks at Arsenal could do a lot worse than try to be more like Arteta, some of his footballing skills would be a bonus as well.