Per Mertesacker will be the first to admit that his return against Everton was completely unexpected, but he was still ready for action.
The World Cup winner had not played a minute of football since suffering a knee injury in pre-season, but replaced Gabriel to mark his 150th Premier League appearance with a 3-1 win.
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And now, with the Brazilian defender and Laurent Koscielny out of Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup final, Mertesacker is in line to make his first start this season on the biggest stage in English football.
“I was out for half a year and not available so it was difficult at times,” the 32-year-old said. “When I came back new year and started to train with the team, obviously, you want to give absolutely everything on the training pitch and try to support the team as much as you can.
“I wasn’t happy about the role, just being sidelined, but just keeping up with the boys, trying to lift them no matter what happens. We went through difficult periods throughout the season but this is really clutch now for us and I think everyone now is eager to play the last game and give absolutely everything for this club.
“I haven’t [really] played this year but I have done this for 15 years so I expect myself to be absolutely ready no matter what comes. That is my mindset, no matter what happens or what is facing me on Saturday, I am going to go for it.
“I owe this to this team and to this club. I want to make sure I will be ready and and my mindset is 120 minutes plus penalties.”
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