Per Mertesacker has one fundamental belief about captaincy: be true to yourself, no matter the consequences.
Speaking exclusively to our ‘In Lockdown’ podcast, our academy manager revealed what it takes to wear the armband for Arsenal.
"If you're authentic, honest and can have tough conversations, that's when you talk about winning teams," Mertesacker said. "Winning teams always talk, you know? Whether it's positive, negative, comfortable or uncomfortable.
"There needs to be that mentality in every single training session. I remember Aaron Ramsey was always a sounding board for me because we kept having a go at each other. Whenever we would do something wrong or not do the right thing at a certain time in training, we would feel the accountability.
"There were no hiding places really and that's what it's about with winning teams. You have the odd argument and as long as you're authentic and you can back it up with your own behaviour, then there's no problem.
"I never had a problem when someone called me out, sometimes it's difficult to do that but once you step out of your bubble and get some perspective, I think that's just healthy. It can be difficult, but the real leaders are the ones who always try to be authentic and honest, no matter what that means at the time."
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