Interview

'We need to make our players resilient and ready'

Our recent Europa League victory at Vorskla was a proud moment for our academy.

Not only did Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock score, but three youngsters made their first-team debuts and 12 of the 20-man travelling squad progressed through either London Colney or Hale End.

Per Mertesacker was proud to see these players make such an impact, and believes it all comes down to preparation.

"We have a good standard [of player here], and we need to prepare them for these moments, for these opportunities," he told Arsenal Player. "So when they train with the first team, they make an impression. When they go on loan, they make an impression. 

"It all comes back to the way we’ve treated them when preparing them for these moments. We need to have them resilient and ready for those moments. There will be players who won’t be able to have those moments, and will be released. Some will suffer injuries, some will go to other clubs. 

"We are responsible for them all. We cannot give it all to Emile Smith Rowe. We need to make sure and have the responsibility that all the others who go through the academy system are well prepared for their future, whatever happens on the path they take. 

"But we’re doing great and those who are catching the attention right now are doing well because they were well prepared. Let’s not forget that. There are others as well who we need to treat with the same amount of intensity and attention."

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