Per - I want to enjoy every minute

Per Mertesacker intends to enjoy every minute of his last season season as a player - and that means staying injury-free.

The captain had to wait until the final day of the Premier League campaign to make his first appearance of 2016/17, but made up for lost time in sensational style with a man-of-the-match display in our Emirates FA Cup final win over Chelsea.

Per announced this month that he will call time on his playing career next summer to take up a new role at the club as academy manager. So he wants the next 12 months to be special.

“I want to make the most of it,” he said. “Last season was not satisfying for me. The end was a fairytale but the way to that was very tough. I want to stay injury-free, be an option for the manager to get picked every weekend. That’s the target. To make it as enjoyable as I can.

“They manage me very well at the minute,” added Per. “I am not doing everything because nobody knows how my knee reacts at the moment. We are not overloading. I am fine - they manage me well - I am not doing every double session. 

“When we come to games you will see the reaction. Games every three days, seven days, the rhythm of it. At the end of the season that was OK but I need to really find out how well I am when it comes to playing 90-minute games.

“I have lots to give. Players embrace that. As long as I am there I want to play and contribute. Being able to train and make an impact makes me feel good. Being an option and pushing the other players is something I embrace because when you are injured you can do nothing, which was horrible for me.”

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