Per Mertesacker believes games like Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash against League One side Doncaster Rovers are exactly the kind of tests needed for the young players.

The Arsenal captain believes the next generation will find it tough making the step-up to a Football League side who can make an intimidation atmosphere and be physically imposing on the pitch, but also feels it’s important they get such experience to aid their development.

Arsenal enjoyed a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in last night’s third round meeting in the Carabao Cup, booking their place in the last-16 against Norwich City, and Mertesacker was happy to see minutes given to the youngsters in the victory.

“You can see that it’s going to be difficult against League One teams. They are tough, they come at you, every single time you touch the ball someone is behind you. It was a good test for everyone,” he said to

“To get comfortable playing in front of 60,000 is what we have the development centre for, the academy. That’s what they want, so they need to rise to those occasions and play to the level that’s required. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be tough, but those tests are vital for those young players.”

Mertesacker will be Arsenal’s head of academy next season when he retires as a player in the summer, so his job will be to help blood through the stars of tomorrow. The German giant has been described as an inspiration by the youngsters at Arsenal, and it seems he takes the impending role very seriously.

Personally, I look forward to seeing Mertesacker as academy head, as he embodies the mentality of the club to give opportunities to the youth players, in my opinion.