Mikel Arteta hints Declan Rice may take time to settle at Arsenal

FOOTBALL Mikel Arteta hints Declan Rice may take time to settle at Arsenal

Mark Kinyanjui 20:09 - 23.07.2023

Rice made his full unofficial debut in a pre-season friendly match against Manchester United before being subbed off after 60 minutes.

Mikel Arteta has warned Arsenal fans that it will take time for Declan Rice to settle into the side after struggling during their friendly defeat to Manchester United.

Erik ten Hag's Red Devils ran out 2-0 winners at MetLife Stadium thanks to first-half goals from Bruno Fernandes and Jadon Sancho. It brought to an end Arsenal's three-game unbeaten run in pre-season, while United continued their 100% start following victories over Leeds and Lyon.

As for the Gunners, they were not able to gel as a team in the first half, with Rice, Kai Havertz, and Martin Odegaard starting in a midfield three. 

The trio lasted until the 59th minute before Arteta made a triple change as Rice made way for Thomas Partey, who has been linked with a move to Saudi Arabia.

When asked about his side's starting midfield, Arteta hinted that he will stick with the trio despite not impressing against United. 

He said: "When they play 55 times together, it will be better, it will flow better, they will understand each other better and we will be more dominant. But things take time to glide and we have to respect that."

Despite a number of reports linking him with a move away from Arsenal, Thomas Party will remain at the Emirates next season according to Arteta.

The Ghana international had been the subject of speculation linking him with a move to a number of Saudi outfits as well as Italian giants Juventus. However, Arteta is firm in his stance that Partey is going nowhere.

“Thomas Partey is a super important player for us and for me and we want him to be in the team, that’s for sure,” said Arteta.

Pressed for a comment on whether Rice had been bought to replace Partey, Arteta responded by claiming the pair can play alongside each other in the middle of the park.

“Yeah. They can play together. That was in my plans. If you want to improve the squad you need players that can improve the squad and players that can play together.”