By Lloyd Webb

Per Mertesacker says it is important for players to “feel the fans next to you” during matches.

The Arsenal defender recently made his 200th appearance for the club against Barcelona and hailed the atmosphere inside Emirates Stadium.

My surprise was from the start [the fans took to me to their hearts], they tried to find a chant for me and they did it on their own

Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker feels this bond between the squad and the supporters can help the team reach new heights.

‘In my opinion the tighter it is, the better it is,” he told Arsenal Player. “You need to feel that they are next to you, literally standing next to you and being behind you all the time.

“Arsenal is a big family and fans are included all the way through. We are not meeting on a daily basis but the feeling of the back up from the fans is the most important feeling.

"My surprise was from the start [the fans took to me to their hearts], they tried to find a chant for me and they did it on their own. I am very proud of the development and there is still more to come.”

Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
24 Feb 2016