'I want to feel proud to play again'

It’s been a long seven months for Per Mertesacker.

Our captain is yet to make a competitive appearance this season as the result of a knee injury picked up against Lens last July.

Mertesacker has, however, made the squad for our FA Cup wins over Southampton and Sutton - and now he can’t wait to return to the starting line-up.

“I want to just let the moment sink in to myself and feel proud again to be a footballer,” he told Arsenal Player. “Because all you do is train a lot, you want to feel those emotions come out of you and [appreciate] the reception from the fans.

“You always have a certain expectation of yourself, but at the same time you want to play. You want to play in front of 60,000. That’s the aim, that’s what you work for so I’m going to let myself be surprised a little bit.

“You don’t want to know it before, so I really think about getting a proper surprise when I’m back. Obviously the manager makes the selection and I would say I need more training sessions under my belt and maybe a couple of games but still, it’s a blessing to be at this club plus to be painless as well, that’s really important for me.”

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