Mikel Arteta takes first coaching session with Arsenal's Under-13s

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Football News

Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is putting his prolonged spell on the sidelines to good use, by coaching the club's under-13 squad as part of the training involved in earning his coaching badges.

Arteta was at Arsenal's Hale End academy to take charge of a session with the academy side's session on Wednesday night, according to the Daily Mail.

The 33-year-old clearly has one eye on life after playing as he approaches the final few months of his current deal with the Gunners, although an agreement in principle over a contract extension is currently in place.

Arteta follows Henry's lead

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is clearly more than happy for senior pro's and former stars to use the club's facilities to work towards UEFA coaching qualifications, with Arteta following Thierry Henry's lead.

Henry was also at Hale End last month to do something similar with the under-15 side, with both men considering a move into management over the next few years.

Arsenal skipper close to return

Arteta was fit enough to take an active part in the session this week, after making a return to full training with the first-team towards the back end of last week.

The Spaniard has been out injured since November after having surgery to repair a bone spur in his ankle, but should finally be fit and ready for selection at the start of April if he stays on schedule.

A step-up in rehabilatation could not be more timely for Arteta, because he has a fight on to convince Wenger that one-year contract extension is still worth honouring.

The Gunners have coped just fine without their most experienced midfield option, with Francis Coquelin in particular stepping up to prove he's capable of providing an effective shield in that central enforcer role.

Wenger may value the £70,000-a-week star's leadership qualities, but there have to be question marks over what value he can offer in terms of regular game time next season and beyond.

Arsenal fans, do you think Arteta is worth keeping beyond this season? Could you see the Spaniard becoming a manager when his playing career finishes? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!

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