Mikel Arteta doesn’t believe he’ll ever get the chance to represent Spain at international level despite being a first team regular at Arsenal and one of the Premier League’s most consistent midfielders for the best part of a decade.
The former Evertonian, who represented his country at every age group between 16-21, did get a call-up in February 2009 only for a serious knee injury, sustained days later, to sideline him for the best part of the year.
Citing his age and the quality of midfield options at coach Vicente del Bosque’s disposal, Arteta lamented:
“I’ve got to be realistic. I’m 31 and, if I’ve not been called up by now, I can’t see it happening.
“Spain have got the best midfield in Europe with players such as Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Juan Mata, so I really can’t complain if I’m not selected by Vicente Del Bosque.
“The intention and illusion remains to play for my country but the reality is that my chances of joining the national team are very, very low.”
Arseblog News (in the form of @7amkickoff) analysed Arteta’s performance back in October 2012 coming to the conclusion that statistically our lego-haired friend more than deserved a shot on the international stage.
What’s more, Santi Cazorla, himself a regular for La Roja, also revealed that he couldn’t understand the decision to omit such an influential character:
“Seriously, I wonder why you’ve never been with the national team. Look you’ve had some incredible seasons with Everton and now you’re the deputy captain of Arsenal.
“How strange that you’ve not yet had a chance. There are many players in that position, but I do wonder.”
It does now look unlikely that Mikel will get his chance with Spain, but we suppose their loss is our gain. May his legs stay as healthy as his glorious head of hair and may he metronomically set the tone of Arsenal attacks for years to come.