Meet the 27-year-old coaching prodigy Mikel Arteta believes is vital to Arsenal's success this season
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Mikel Arteta's coaching career started under the tutelage of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola - he could already have a prodigy of his own in the Arsenal ranks.
The Gunners are currently five points clear of City in the Premier League and a first title win in 19 years could be on the horizon.
It's a remarkable turnaround, given Arsenal's fifth-place last season and failure to qualify for the Champions League. There have been some rapid improvements at the Emirates Stadium.
While Arteta will take the credit, his staff working behind the scenes are just as vital to Arsenal's return to the top. 27-year-old Carlos Cuesta is part of that coaching team, with a fascinating story of his own.
The Spaniard joined Arsenal in 2020, shortly after they won the FA Cup, to become the club's Individual Development Coach.
Cuesta can speak six languages; English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French and Catalan. On paper, that means he can communicate with every player in the Arsenal first-team setup. They're all either from that country or have played in a country that speaks one of those six languages.
Despite not being thirty yet, Cuesta is already approaching a decade in coaching. He's held a UEFA Pro License for several years and started studying as an 18-year-old.
He continued his studies at Porto University while holding down a job as Atletico Madrid's U13s coach.
So, the question is on everyone's mind. What exactly does an Individual Development Coach do? Rather than fitness, he focuses on the technical side of the game. Arteta deploys intricate tactical systems in Arsenal games, something he's been keen to do since taking over in 2019.
Cuesta helps get everyone up to speed in a quick and efficient manor. If you watched Amazon's 'All or Nothing' documentary which focused on Arsenal's 21/22 campaign, you'll have heard Nuno Tavares praise Cuesta's attention to detail.
The full-back, currently on loan at Marseille, explained: "Carlos can understand the players because he is also young.
"He helps me get better and better."
Interestingly, Cuesta visited City in 2018 after impressing with a breakdown of their tactical system. Is that when Arteta first spotted his talent?
Arsenal face the reigning champions in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday evening. It'll be the first time they've faced off this term, with their Premier League fixture towards the end of last year postponed.
Arteta will face mentor Guardiola once again at the Etihad Stadium. In a few years, he could be the master facing a rapidly improving apprentice.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, Premier League