O’Connor - How Per helped on my debut

Stefan O’Connor says the calming influence of Per Mertesacker helped to put him at ease on his Arsenal debut.

The 17-year-old made his first senior appearance at Turk Telekom Arena on Tuesday night, replacing Mathieu Debuchy in the closing stages of Arsenal’s 4-1 win over Galatasaray.

The defender was delighted to make his first-team bow and explained how Mertesacker helped him during his time on the pitch.

"He’s a good leader and he’s a good guy to have around the team"

“He encouraged me a lot,” O’Connor told Arsenal Player. “When I made a mistake or if I did something well, he just encouraged me.

“He’s a good leader and he’s a good guy to have around the team.

“It’s a dream come true. I would never have thought that at 17, I would be making my debut for the first team in the Champions League. Words can’t explain it.

“This is what I play football for. I’m proud of myself. My confidence is sky high at the moment. I just have to push on from here. It’s a great start and I can’t complain.”

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