Joe Willock has dismissed Roy Keane’s claims that Arsenal players are disrespecting Mikel Arteta by calling him by his first name, insisting it just shows the close nature of their relationship with their manager.
The Gunners pulled off an impressive 1-0 victory against Manchester United on Sunday as they ended a run of 29 league games without a win away at the ‘big six’.
‘They didn’t show him respect when they called him by his name, Mikel,’ Keane said on Sky Sports.
‘He’s the manager, the boss, the gaffer. That’s respect. Not Mikel, he’s not his mate.’
But speaking ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash on Thursday night, Willock insisted the squad have plenty of respect for Arteta, while he praised the ‘mind-blowing’ impact the Spanish boss has had at the club since his arrival last December.
‘As you know we all really, really respect the manager,’ Willock said when Keane’s comments were put to him.
‘We talk about the big respect we have for him in the changing room so I don’t think that’s a lack of respect; it’s just the relationship we each have with him.’