Arsenal favourite Steve Bould cannot wait to get started in his new role as Arsene Wenger's No.2, after being promoted from youth team head coach into the first-team fold.

Following trusty servant Pat Rice's recent retirement, the Gunners boss sought to replace him with a man that is already familiar with the club's fabric and footballing principles, and the 49-year-old seemed the obvious choice.

Bould, who won three league titles and two FA Cups during 11 years as a player in north London, has built a solid reputation from his work with Arsenal's promising youngsters over the past eight years, and will now be looking to make a positive impact on the senior side.

"I know I have some big boots to fill with Pat having spent 44 years at the club and that is going to be the hard part," Bould was quoted by BBC Sport. "It is more than excitement, it is an absolute privilege and an honour.

"I will be learning on the job a little bit but myself and Neil Banfield are more than excited."

Banfield has also been promoted internally from reserve-team manager to first-team coach, in what is the biggest coaching reshuffle at the club in Wenger's entire tenure.

Arsenal will now be looking to improve on this season's third place finish in the Premier League, by challenging for the title next year, with the help of a number of new signings that are expected to arrive at the Emirates Stadium this summer.

"I have always felt it is important to have people around who understand what this great club is all about," said Wenger.

"With Steve and Neil joining the first-team staff, it ensures we carry forward our traditions and approach in a consistent way."

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