Mikel Arteta has been speaking to the media ahead of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash at West Ham on Wednesday night.
The Gunners boss fielded questions on several topics, including the fitness of Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus, as well as the possibility of Declan Rice facing his former club for the first time following his record breaking move to North London in the summer.
Here is a selection of what Arteta had to say during his press conference at London Colney.
On Declan Rice
“He can be involved. It will be his first time back at his old club and a beautiful moment for him. I think it’s beautiful. I had the experience to do it a few times and then you really see what they think of you and what you left at the club. It’s a really good way to measure your experience and your reality within the reality of the people that share your experiences with you.”
On whether Rice will get a good reception
“I hope so. Every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they did for him and everybody at the club, he cannot talk any higher. Hopefully it will be the same way towards him.”
On Nketiah – needs to be rested, or tempted to start again to keep his momentum?
“Both. We have to be conscious with the amount of minutes they play. He has started a lot of games in the Premier League, but in terms of how we have utilised him he is fresh and he is in a really good moment. So when players are like this they have to be used, whether we do it as a starter or on the bench, we will see.”
On Messi winning the Ballon d’Or
“When you talk about Messi, you can never be wrong. He won the World Cup, at his age it was the pinnacle of his career. It’s just incredible. The consistency that he’s shown, the level that he put world football into. I think it’s incredible and I’m so glad we had a few as well nominated on those lists.”
On Saka, Odegaard and Ramsdale being involved in the nominations
“Pride. It’s always good to look at yourselves next to those names. It’s a compliment to them for what they have done, now the challenge is to be higher up those lists next season.”
On Odegaard’s fitness
“We rested him the other day, so it’s how long we rest him and how we manage the minutes and the rhythm he needs as well to be at his best. We had the opportunity to do it, we didn’t use him at the end, so that was good for him.”
On whether it’s just rest Odegaard needs
“It’s not only that, there are a lot of things you have to do. It’s impossible to play with no niggles in football. At this level when you have games every three days, it’s impossible. If you try to do that, you better stay in bed. I don’t know why players who are constantly perfect to stay in the best condition.”
On when Jesus will return
“With him, I’m not going to put any [timescale] on it because I did it once and I got it totally wrong. We need to be cautious, to treat it in the right way, but he is already pushing everybody. He wants to be back as quick as possible and we need him, so that’s great.”