Per Mertesacker has vowed to do everything possible to convince Arsenal’s academy players to take on new ideas and practices to help them make the most of themselves.

Speaking in his new book, as reported by The Guardian, Mertesacker revealed all the things that he did for himself to make the most of his playing career. He spent 10% of his net salary on a personal network of therapists, he took part in yoga sessions for years, and even worked with sports scientists to train his left eye.

He clearly wasn’t always impressed with the way some other players viewed this sort of extra work though.

“Hardly anyone came to the yoga sessions that the club offered. Often there were only four of us: Héctor Bellerín, Nacho Monreal and Tomas Rosicky,” he wrote. “The youth players who were promoted to the first team smiled at these exercises. They thought we were meditating.

“They were happy with the ball at their feet but for everything else there was a lack of desire. “I play football and go to training. That’s enough.” But no, it isn’t enough when you want to maintain a certain level for a long time or want to improve.”

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LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Per Mertesacker of Arsenal looks on during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Arsenal and Doncaster Rovers at Emirates Stadium on September 20, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Mertesacker will take over as head of the Arsenal academy next season, and he’s clearly relishing the opportunity to convince the young players to take this sort of work more seriously.

“In my new role as Arsenal academy manager I will do everything I can to challenge the young players’ mindsets,” he explained. “I want to challenge them so that they are ready to take on new ideas and protect them from being injured, when it comes to their body and soul.

“I want to convince them they have to do something to get to the top of the world and I want to be an example for them.”

Hearing Mertesacker talk about what he wants for the academy, it’s clear why the club decided to appoint him in the first place. There’s no doubting that the current batch of u23s have plenty of talent, but as the German says: “Talent is what you make of your situation.”

With any luck, he can push the youngsters to the next level and help them progress to make an impact in the senior team.