Arteta admits England lure


Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta admits he considered an international future with England.

The Spanish playmaker has never been capped at senior level by his country despite playing at several youth levels, with the Basque-born 29-year-old not thought to be in the plans of manager Vicente del Bosque.

And, when the possibility of representing the Three Lions arose, Arteta admits he had to think long-and-hard about the possibility - before FIFA stepped-in to block any possible change of allegiance.

"If it was any other country I would have had to say no, but because it was that one I said I would have to think about it," he told the official Arsenal website.

"England has been really good to me professionally and personally. In the end I didn't have to make a decision because I wasn't allowed to play because of FIFA rules. At least it was nice to know that Fabio Capello and his staff were thinking about bringing me into the national team.

"I feel English in some ways because I have spent the biggest part of my career here. Obviously I know how English people think, what they do, the culture - I know everything. I have to adapt to that so I am living life like an English person."

Arteta moved to the country in 2005, joining Everton initially on loan before completing a permanent move from Real Sociedad. He did have experience of British culture during a spell with Rangers between 2002 and 2004.

The move to England also brought Arteta close to an old friend in Xabi Alonso, although the pair were fierce rivals on the pitch because of their loyalties to red and blue on Merseyside.

"We used to live five minutes away from each other and play at the same clubs when we were young. We had a good relationship but then I went to Barcelona and he stayed. Then suddenly, five years later he went to Liverpool and I went to Everton and we lived next door to each other," Arteta continued.

"It was crazy but that's what football brings you sometimes. You never know where you are going to end up. Obviously I spoke to him and he said Liverpool was a really nice city to live in, that the fans were unbelievable, there was a big rivalry between the two clubs and it was a good experience.

"I didn't have any doubts about moving there and that was partly thanks to him."

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