Per Mertesacker says every player has a responsibility "to lead and give energy to the squad".

The World Cup winner is one of Arsenal's most senior players and captained the Gunners to a record 12th FA Cup last May.

As they prepare to continue their defence of the trophy against Burnley on Saturday, Mertesacker says everyone has a role to play in helping the team achieve more success.

“There’s always a balance between having good leaders and a good team, but everyone needs to lead,” he told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “Everyone needs to lead, to talk and give energy to the squad. It’s a balance and you don¹t want to do too much or exaggerate at times, you just have to get the team going at times.

“In general we have a good balance in the team and a good squad. We’ve still got players coming back from injury but we’ve never complained about it, that is the main reason for our success.

“Players have stepped up, brought their energy and we’ve got the results as well. We won¹t look back on players being injured as a negative because other players have stepped up, especially this season.

“We’ve kept the same squad and we have obviously made some great additions over the past two years. In general, the team spirit has grown a lot. We are competing at the top and that’s something that was not always the case when I joined.

“The team is much stronger and mentally stronger as well. There are a few steps to go, the season is always long and to get consistency is never easy. There are challenges ahead of us but they make us even stronger, and I must say that the team spirit in the squad is huge at the minute.”

Per Mertesacker
Per Mertesacker

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Max Jones 28 Jan 2016