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Mikel Arteta: Arsenal and Watford looking to forge working relationship

The clubs are training-ground neighbours and Gunners technical director Edu is exploring ways in which they can work together.

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Mikel Arteta will come up against Watford and Roy Hodgson on Sunday (John Walton/PA)

Mikel Arteta will come up against Watford and Roy Hodgson on Sunday (John Walton/PA)

Mikel Arteta will come up against Watford and Roy Hodgson on Sunday (John Walton/PA)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed technical director Edu is aiming to forge a working relationship with Watford.

The clubs are training-ground neighbours, both based in London Colney where Arteta’s side have their own facility next to the home of the Hornets, which was previously occupied by Arsenal.

The proximity of the bases would mean close ties would be easily made, with Arteta himself having trained over the hedge from Watford’s squad during his playing days with the Gunners.

Now there could be a more permanent relationship between the two clubs – who face each other at Vicarage Road on Sunday afternoon.

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, right, with technical director Edu (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, right, with technical director Edu (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, right, with technical director Edu (Anthony Devlin/PA)

He said: “I had some friends there and it is very easy because after training you just crash with each other with the cars!

“So, I think it is great. I think that relationship should be stronger and stronger. I think, for example, Edu is doing some work on that to build those relationships because we are close.

“I think we can help each other in many ways as well and I think it is a positive thing.”

Asked how any sort of agreement could look, Arteta added; “It depends. At least open the relationship and explore possibilities that we can have with our players, with their players.

“They are next door and we can compete against each other, but as well I think it is important to have good relationships and that’s the case I think.”

Arteta will come up against Roy Hodgson on Sunday as the Premier League’s oldest manager welcomes the youngest to Hertfordshire.

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Watford manager Roy Hodgson is still going strong aged 74 (Nick Potts/PA)

Watford manager Roy Hodgson is still going strong aged 74 (Nick Potts/PA)

Watford manager Roy Hodgson is still going strong aged 74 (Nick Potts/PA)

“I don’t know,” the 39-year-old Arteta replied when asked what he might be doing when he reaches Hodgson’s age of 74.

“If you had told me what my life would be like 10 years ago, I probably would get all the answers wrong, so I don’t know. If I’m as healthy and as happy and with what Roy’s done in the game, I think I can stand here today.

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“I didn’t expect to do that (manage against Hodgson) again because last time I almost said a real goodbye but he’s decided to come back and it tells you about the person, how much he loves the game, how much he needs this game and I think it’s great to have him back.

“It’s just incredible how long he’s been going and how he’s managed to balance his life in a way which has that much space for football and have a managerial career that has so many things implicit on that.

“It basically sucks your life out and you know he looks healthy, he looks good. He’s a person that I really admire and I think he’s a great example for any coach to spend some time with him.”

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