Stephan Lichtsteiner insists he’ll retire from football altogether as soon as he feels he can’t maintain the level of the last few years of his career.
More and more players choose to retire from international football early nowadays, to focus on prolonging their club careers for as long as possible. Lichtsteiner has confirmed he doesn’t intend to be one of them though, instead planning to retire from both sides of the game at the same time.
“For me, stepping down has never been up for debate,” he said. “If I have to admit that I can not keep the level of the last few years, then it is time.
“But then I will not only resign from the Swiss national team, but finish my career. Based purely on performance data I have the physicality of a 28-year-old.”
Clearly the Swiss international doesn’t believe he’s quite done yet, for club or country. He admitted it’s strange spending so much time on the bench with Arsenal so far, but is willing to wait for his chances.
“It is quite unusual for me to be a substitute,” he continued. “Three games in a row [on the bench], that’s never happened to me. If you have achieved a lot in your career, you have high expectations of yourself and want to play. But I also know that I will get the chance to play games.
“I knew from the very beginning at Arsenal that I had to fight for the regular spot against Hector Bellerin.”
When will Lichtsteiner get his first start?
Most likely, we won’t have to wait long. Even if Unai Emery decides to stick with Hector Bellerin for the Premier League matches, as he has done so far, there will be other opportunities in the next two weeks.
First, Arsenal begin their Europa League campaign against FC Vorskla. Then, six days later, they play their first League Cup match against Brentford. Both games will have to involve some rotation, because they’re two of four matches in just 10 days between September 20th and September 29th.
Hopefully he can live up to his own expectations on the pitch, and help Arsenal to a couple of wins.