With Mikel Arteta frequently sidelined by injury, the duty to lead the team out onto the pitch is often Per Mertesacker’s.
That’s fine, as you don’t get the impression the Arsenal dressing room has been much of an autocracy in recent times anyway. That has helped fostered a great team spirit, with no individuals acting for themselves.
“It’s not about me or anyone else, it’s about the club,” Mertesacker said in an interview with the Arsenal Magazine. “We want to dedicate our lives to that club, and that means more to me than just performing well individually.”
As vice-captain and one of the oldest members of the squad, Mertesacker is a true leader within the Arsenal team. With 104 Germany caps and over a decade of top level football behind him, the German has a huge amount of experience to call upon when required.
As well as his obvious qualities within our defence, his experience makes him a crucial member of the side.
“I try to communicate well on and off the pitch so the lads know that when I say something it’s honest and it’s the truth,” the German explained. “Our dressing room is really lively.
“We have different characters and the young, talented players sometimes look up to the more experienced guys. In that case, I have a role to play.
“I do it in an honest way. Things that I learnt and grabbed during my career that I think are important would include being genuine to all the lads and treating everyone equally and differently.”
Arsenal have a number of young players who are still developing, including Calum Chambers, who plays in the same position as Mertesacker.
His experience is invaluable, and it’s great to hear that he’s using it as much as possible to help out his younger teammates.