Per Mertesacker has always been regarded to be the consummate professional at Arsenal, and he has put down his long career at the top down to taking a new approach to keeping his body supple and fit. He likes the holistic approach and even uses yoga as a way of keeping his body in tip top condition.
The Big German is fully intending to pass on his all-round approach to body wellness when he takes over his new role in the academy next season. “Footballers are used to working only three hours a day.” Mertesacker said. “And out of the three hours they are at the training ground they are on their mobiles for half of that.
“We have all the money in the world but do not realise how important the body is. A player on average has a seven‑year professional career, 10-15 if everything goes right. You have to do everything possible to be at your maximum.
“A lot of players don’t even know what maximum is – for them it is about having fun on the pitch. But there is more to being a professional than that.
“In my new role as Arsenal academy manager I will do everything I can to challenge the young players’ mindsets. I want to challenge them so that they are ready to take on new ideas and protect them from being injured, when it comes to their body and soul.
“I want to convince them they have to do something to get to the top of the world and I want to be an example for them. For me there wasn’t really a way up but somehow I made it there anyway, because I did everything I possibly could to give me the best chances to succeed. Talent is what you make of your situation.”
we have seen too many of our academy players get sucked into the playboy lifestyle before they have even reached a first team spot. They are paid obscene amounts of money even when playing for the under18s so it is very easy to get distracted. Let’s hope that Mertesacker’s new approach can see more of our starlets actually making the grade in the future…