Not particularly used to being on the bench, experienced defender Per Mertesacker has taken his time out of the team on the chin.
Many professionals may be a little upset to be dropped at 31, especially World Cup winners, but the Arsenal vice-captain has treated the situation with dignity.
“It is another perspective for me,” the German said. Mertesacker was back in the side for Arsenal’s win against West Brom on Thursday evening, helping the side to a clean sheet.
“But I try to give everything and be ready when selected. Obviously, Gabriel did really well and the boss gave him a chance. He deserved it but, nevertheless, I never give up and I’m fit. We need every player fit and everyone must contribute here, otherwise we will have no success.”
It’s an incredible example to the rest of the Arsenal side that one of the most experienced and successful players in the dressing room is willing to take this in his stride and use it to improve.
You often wonder how driven footballers are, and how well they adapt to adversity, but Mertesacker is a player that others should learn from.
“It’s team sport. This is a different situation but sometimes you need to step back and learn something out of it. Now, I can train more than I ever could before. I sat back and looked at what I could do in training to really get better. Obviously, you are disappointed but I will never drop the respect for anyone here, even when I’m not playing.
“It was a good time for me – if you change a little bit of your perspective, you see how other people feel. We are 25 [in the squad] and not everyone can be selected. It is a learning process, even when you are 31 and a World Cup winner.”
With Sunderland coming up at the weekend, Mertesacker will hope to be back in the side. The vice-captain led the defence to a solid performance against the Baggies so, surely, he should keep his place in the team?