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‘Per represents all the values that are important’

Per Mertesacker is approaching his last season as a professional footballer - but Arsène Wenger says his attitude and application will continue to benefit us long after he retires.

The World Cup winner will become our academy manager from the start of the 2018/19 season. So why was he selected for the role?

“I feel first of all he represents the values that are important for me at youth level - integrity, commitment, giving the best and getting the best out of people, being a leader, having potential to guide people,” Wenger told Arsenal Player. “Basically that’s it. As long as you’re a player who is fully committed and focused on your career, you don’t think too much about if you’re capable to do that or not. 

“When we raised the question, he thought about it and naturally the process integrated slowly into his brain. The decision in the end that was not obvious at all at the start for him, became very obvious. 

“I’m happy because I believe that he can guide the future generations of Arsenal Football Club to successful careers.

“When you have a reputation, when you’re admired, you have two ways to behave. To take advantage of it and take privileges, or you’re conscious of the responsibility you have and you want to be a model that other people take example from. 

“He chooses the right way and has always done that. There’s talent in your career and what you make of it. The respect you gain for people is more from what they make of their talent, and on that front Per has done extremely well.

“It is absolutely vital, because a club is about values and values are carried by human beings and people who in this case have had great careers. 

“On that front you have no doubts at all about Per’s potential to get [the best out of] young players.”

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