Spanish ace Mikel Arteta has said that Arsenal teammate Tomas Rosicky is an exceptional player and has been vastly underrated over the years.
The Czech Republic international joined Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund for a then-record £21 million fee from Sparta Prague in 2001.
His talent was obvious, and when the Gunners managed to prise him away from the German side many observers felt that manager Arsene Wenger had pulled off an excellent coup.
In reality, the Frenchman did just that. However, the lack of recognition which Rosicky has received over the years is harsh given his fabulous contributions over a difficult period.
Nowadays, the 34-year-old is merely a squad player and has made just two Premier League starts this season as a result of strong competition for places.
When called upon, Rosicky maintains the same high standards as ever, yet Arteta feels his influence on the side from an attacking perspective can be overlooked due to his often unorthodox style of play.
“Within a week of joining Arsenal, watching Tomas train and having him play alongside me, I knew he was one of the most underrated players,” Arteta told the club’s official website.
“It’s hard to find players like Tomas who can be that clever and do things so simply and lively on the pitch.
“I think everybody likes to play next to Tommy and I’m very happy for him because he was given the chance and again he hit the spot.
“He can carry the ball and he’s got that 10-yard spurt where he can change direction, his vision and his final ball.
“Something people sometimes don’t think about with Tomas is that he works really hard. He’s always very alert with very high concentration levels during the game and that’s why he’s so good.”
Rosicky has made a total of 231 appearances in all competitions for the Emirates outfit over the last eight-and-a-half years, scoring 26 goals in the process.
Injuries, however, have frequently been his Achilles heel, and his 28 Premier League appearances in the 2011/12 season remains his highest tally to date.