Mikel Arteta says Cedric deserves great credit for working his way back into the Portuguese national team and said his teammates at Arsenal can learn from the right-back’s professionalism.
The 30-year-old made his debut for his country in 2014, won the European Championships in 2016 and continued to be a regular until 2018 when his form for Southampton dipped and he fell out of favour.
Joining Arsenal with an injury in 2020 didn’t immediately help his international ambitions although a run in the side last season did see him earn a surprise recall in March 2021 from head coach Fernando Santos.
His latest selection follows a three-month stint in Mikel Arteta’s first team where he’s ably covered for the injured Takehiro Tomiyasu.
“It’s not a coincidence,” said Arteta when asked about the Portuguese defender.
“When you have the professionalism, the dedication, the habits that Cedric has, good things happen to you.
“He’s been patient, keeping quiet and working hard. When he’s had the chances he’s done well and that’s why the national team manager has decided to bring him back, which I’m really happy with.
He added: “I think the player has to take all the credit and his teammates have to learn a lot about that option.
“When you don’t play, when you are written off, you can take a completely different route, you can start to blame the coach or your teammates or the environment or whatever, and look somewhere else.
“What he tried to do was to stay there, to stay focused, to learn more and wait for his opportunity. When he needed to talk, talk on the pitch, don’t talk on the microphone because here is very easy to talk.”
It remains to be seen how long Cedric retains his place at Arsenal. Japan international Tomiyasu is closing in on full fitness following calf injuries in both legs and will want his place back after a very impressive start to life at Emirates Stadium.
All the same, kudos to Cedric. While Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Hector Bellerin went in search of new challenges, he’s been rewarded for his patience and grown in stature along the way.