BFG: I have lots to give in final season

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Next year Per Mertesacker will retire from football to take up a position as the new head of the Arsenal Academy.

It’s an exciting appointment, but before that there’s still one final season as a player, and the skipper is determined to show he can still make a telling contribution.

We saw evidence of that in May when an epic FA Cup final performance – his first start of the season – helped us defeat Chelsea 2-1 and lift the famous old trophy for the third time in four years.

And the 32 year old wants to pick up where he left off, giving the manager something to think about when it comes to selecting his team each week.

“I have lots to give,” he said. “Players embrace that. As long as I am there I want to play and contribute.

“Being able to train and make an impact makes me feel good. Being an option and pushing the other players is something I embrace because when you are injured you can do nothing, which was horrible for me.

“They manage me very well at the minute. I am not doing everything because nobody knows how my knee reacts at the moment. We are not overloading.

“I am fine – they manage me well – I am not doing every double session.”

And although last season ended with glory at Wembley, Mertesacker says what came before was not at all enjoyable.

“I want to make the most of it,” he continued. “Last season was not satisfying for me.

“The end was a fairytale but the way to that was very tough. I want to stay injury-free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend. That’s the target.

“To make it as enjoyable as I can.”

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