Mertesacker: Academy role was Arsenal’s idea

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Per Mertesacker says the decision to end his playing career to take up a role with Arsenal’s Academy was a difficult one but he’s looking forward to a swansong year before learning the ropes as a coach. 

The World Cup winner will take over from interim Academy coach Luke Hobbs in a year’s time after Arsene Wenger asked if he’d be interested in the role. 

Speaking in Sydney, Mertesacker admitted he was proud that the club approached him and that he’ll call time on life as a defender at the top of the game. 

“[I feel] A lot of pride. It shows that the club believes in me, not only as a player. There are a lot of young players coming up and that’s why I’m very happy and very privileged to take over from next season. 

“I’ve decided to stop playing, that was my first decision. I realised I had to stop after a very good and long career, and now I’m in the pre-season preparing for my last season [so I have to] to enjoy it as much as I can. Then we can speak about next season when I’ve finished this season. 

“Then I have a new role without any background from being part of that side of the club. I’m very excited, obviously about this season to finish my career well, and then starting off an absolutely new role.”

Former clubs Werder Bremen and Hannover are believed to have had an interest in re-signing the World Cup winner, however, his head was turned by the opportunity to continue his Arsenal adventure in London. 

“The decision of whether I want to stop or not was difficult at the time. I have been fortunate enough to play more than 15 years in professional football and to make my own decision on when to stop is something I always wanted to do. 

“When Arsenal came to me with the idea, I was up for it. To stop at the highest level is good for me and that’s why I decided to stop next year – even if I could have gone somewhere else, for example Germany, and played a couple more seasons. 

“I am looking forward absolutely to this new role, to staying in football – those were the kind of things that convinced me, plus my family are happy in England, in London as well. What comes with that role, we will define that in this next year. Playing is the major part, but then we decide what experience I have to gain to set up myself into that role – if that is more on the coaching side, or the managing side, that is down to the season ahead.”

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17 Comments on "Mertesacker: Academy role was Arsenal’s idea"

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Ausdrexler

Champ!

not so fed up

Awesome

PengJuay

OUR one and only BFG!!!

cdm995

BFG – Bona Fide Gooner.

Trex D Gunner

BFG=Gunner for Life. Love this guy to bits. He is living the dream of a life long fan of our club.

AlexGoon

Big Fucking Gunner

Lutros

Id love to see the BFG manage us after Wenger goes.

Cliff Bastin

Credit’s due to the management who didn’t have to do this but did.

Original Niger

How will this make a certain Arteta feels ?

Gonzogunner

Still delighted with this. I think his slow start in Arsenal colours has clouded how good he really is for many fans of English football. That terrible game he had against Norwich before succumbing to injury comes to mind

Rufusstan

I’m all for it, but doesn’t he need UEFA A qualifications to run an academy like ours?

It is more than possible he’s been doing his badges on the quiet for the last couple of years. Any idea if this is true?

Alternatively, he might be able to get an exemption while he finishes his badges (Think Shearer did that when he was at Newcastle).

In any event they’ve got a year to sort things out

Dan

Think he started doing them when he was injured, though I could be wrong

Beagleboy

Per is such a grounded guy, it’s hard not to love him 🙂

love and hate

Anyone who doesn’t love the bfg is either dead inside or a spud

Rufusstan

At first glance I read that as dead or inside a squid.

I’ll get my coat

Warmgooner

Tony Adam is crying

Winterburn Wanderers

Got his name on the back of my shirt after he had been at the club for about three months. So happy I gave him that vote of confidence. First name on the team sheet come August. See the picture of him shaking hands with Lacazette? Dressed in all black, looks like he’s been hitting the gym. He’s back!

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