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IN THE GROVE: Old hand Santi, the muse of the dressing room

Published: 18 November, 2016
by STEVE BARNETT

SANTI Cazorla clearly adds more than just goals and incisive passing to the Arsenal team – he’s also the daddy of the dressing room. 

The Spanish midfielder, who has been sidelined for a month with an achilles injury, says it’s important to be a good example to young players in the team. 

“I struggle to say things in an aggressive way. I prefer to discuss things from a calmer point of view, always trying to give a message,” he told the Arsenal Magazine. 

“I am more paternal in that way, rather than aggressive. With the dressing room we have, you cannot necessarily be just a reference, but someone who can help the young players who are coming up – players like Alex Iwobi, Chuba Akpom and Jeff Reine-Adelaide. 

“When I was young I always looked to the veterans of the team to say how it was, so now I try to be an example and give players advice.” 

Cazorla, who will turn 32 next month, also reflected on some of the valuable advice that he received from senior professionals. 

“When I spoke to the veterans of clubs I was at, they told me that once you get past the 30 barrier, it takes longer to recover. I was 23 or 24 and said, ‘No, that won’t happen to me. I’m fine now. I’m never tired.’ 

“But once you get to 30, and you unluckily have injuries, it does take longer to recuperate and you have more problems. You have to look after your body, too, to be at 100 per cent every game.”

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