A short few weeks back, at the end of English football’s longest season, Mikel Arteta and Scott Parker finished up with silverware at Wembley and immediately spoke about needing rest.
Just over a month has passed since the highs of winning the FA Cup and Championship play-off final and at lunchtime today the Premier League’s two youngest managers, midfield rivals in the not too distant past, start a 2020/21 campaign that will give no one involved much time to breathe.
Yesterday afternoon Arteta, 39, joked that he felt 10 years older in a job he has been in for less than 10 months and the feeling of responsibility has been ramped up by his elevation from Arsenal head coach to manager.
To most observers such a change in job title may seem minor but at Arsenal it feels like there is a bit more importance placed on such things.
“Responsibility and pressure is always linked,” he said. “I’m really grateful for the faith the club is showing towards me. I’m just trying to do my job as well as possible, as quick as possible in a more sufficient way back to the top. This is my aim.
“The players and people working in this organisation enjoy, they feel really connected to this football club, the same with our fans. Whatever I have to do in order to achieve that, I will put all the hours, all my commitment and passion to achieve that as soon as possible.”
But that commitment and passion takes its toll, as the Fulham head coach, 39, knows well.
Parker’s interview after beating Brentford in the play-off final at the beginning of August became a viral hit when it was soundtracked by The Streets’ Dry Your Eyes but there was a serious point within, a raw insight into how all-encompassing the job is.
“At the end of a long season, the emotions you saw at Wembley were a mixture of all sorts: relief, pride. That all came out,” Parker said on Thursday.
“What made me so emotional last year, certainly at the end and during that lockdown period, is I saw a team that really developed…