Per Mertesacker has admitted that being dropped from Arsenal’s first team by Arsene Wenger this season left him ‘mentally drained’.
- Per Mertesacker clarifies retirement claims
- Mertesacker mentally drained after last season
- Wenger thought knee injury would end BFG’s career
- Centre-back gave ‘unexpected’ heroic performance in FA Cup final win v Chelsea
Mertesacker was sidelined for the entire 2016/17 season except for 37 minutes in Arsenal’s final Premier League clash against Everton when Gabriel got injured, and his heroic performance in the FA Cup final win against Chelsea.
Although the centre-back had been in training for a while after undergoing knee surgery last summer, his fitness levels were still lacking, which left him unable to reach the first team and psychologically ‘on the way home’ despite the season not being over.
Speaking recently, not only has the 32-year-old admitted that he’s probably looking at retiring from playing in the not-too-distant future but that he was left mentally drained after having to fight for a position he could never get into over the past year.
“I was completely injured in the first half series of the season and only back in February from team training,” the former German international told Sport Buzzer.
“Two weeks ago, I had a conversation with the coach, when I realized that I’m no longer in the squad, I’m just training. I told him I was tired, mentally drained. For the first time in my career, I thought it did not matter anymore. It did not matter how I trained, I did not get a chance.”
He added, “(Wenger) said he understood that, but he can do little for me, he has found his team. That was the day before the last match against Everton. He probably thought the injury would end my career. He knew me well, but not so well, that he knew what I was sacrificing to get fit again. Then two players got injured and I have slipped into the squad, although I was already on the way home.
“In the match against Everton came an injury and a red card. There were four defensive players, so I played for 40 minutes, although I had finished two days earlier. And then, in a week, so much has happened that could not be expected.”
The BFG has a year left on his Arsenal deal. However, it’s unclear how much of that he’ll spend on the pitch.