Date: 12th July 2017 at 4:05am
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Per Mertesacker has been speaking more about the announcement that he’ll become our new Academy Manager from 2018/19 and whilst many were surprised with the announcement, he felt incredible pride at the role.

Speaking to the media out in Sydney ahead of our tour of Australia, Mertesacker told the Official Site that it was a huge statement from Arsenal that they continued to believe in him and he was relishing the job to come.

Asked about the appointment, he explained.

‘A lot of pride. It shows that the club believes in me, not only as a player. There are a lot of young players coming up and that`s why I`m very happy and very privileged to take over from next season. I`ve decided to stop playing, that was my first decision. I realised I had to stop after a very good and long career, and now I`m in the pre-season preparing for my last season so I have to to enjoy it as much as I can.’

He went on to add.

‘Then we can speak about next season when I`ve finished this season. Then I have a new role without any background from being part of that side of the club. I`m very excited, obviously about this season to finish my career well, and then starting off an absolutely new role.’

Questioned on whether he always wanted to go into coaching when his playing career came to an end, Mertesacker admitted he hadn’t really thought about being a coach per se but he’d enjoyed his senior role in helping youngsters during training in previous years.

‘I enjoy being vocal to young players during training, but I`ve never seen myself as a coach. I think to gain experience in that will be key as well, for my next chapter. But once Arsenal had the idea to implement me in the club, I slowly started to realise and think about what my purpose would be after playing.’

Asked more specifically about the decision to hang his boots up at the end of the year, he ended by saying.

‘First of all, that decision of whether I want to stop or not was difficult at the time. I have been fortunate enough to play more than 15 years in professional football and to make my own decision on when to stop is something I always wanted to do. When Arsenal came to me with the idea, I was up for it. To stop at the highest level is good for me and that`s why I decided to stop next year – even if I could have gone somewhere else, for example Germany, and played a couple more seasons.’

He added.

‘I am looking forward absolutely to this new role, to staying in football – those were the kind of things that convinced me, plus my family are happy in England, in London as well. What comes with that role, we will define that in this next year. Playing is the major part, but then we decide what experience I have to gain to set up myself into that role – if that is more on the coaching side, or the managing side, that is down to the season ahead.’

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