Per Mertesacker has revealed that he will not do anything special this season to commemorate his final year in competitive football. The defender will retire after the end of the campaign with Arsenal confirming that from the 2018/19 season, the German will lead the club's academy.
The defender is fondly remembered for his performance against Chelsea in the FA Cup final where he was starting his first game of the season after spending the entire campaign on the sidelines with a knee injury. The former Germany international had played just 37 minutes of football in over a year before his final appearance, but showed no signs of rust as he put in one of his best performances for Arsenal.
In the current season, he has made only two starts, first in the Community Shield, where he displaced Laurent Koscielny in the heart of the back-line for the curtain raiser for the new season with the Frenchman suspended for the first two games of the domestic campaign. However, the Germany centre-back had to be replaced by new signing Sead Kolasinac in the 32nd minute of the game after a heavy collision with Gary Cahill.
He later started in the Gunners' 3-1 win over Cologne in the Europa League, with the first choice defenders rested for the game. He is also expected to play a part in the Carabao Cup and the later fixtures in Europe. However, he insisted that he has no reservations about the campaign and will give his 100% in every game.
"No, it's the same focus on being 100% professional. It's very important to get it right in pre-season, to get the workload in and be sensible with your body and mind. There are lots of parts you try to improve, so it's the same kind of desperation to be the best I can be. That's how I've approached all my career as a footballer, so I'll continue to do it," Mertesacker told Arsenal's official website.
"I have to admit that there's a different level of how you prepare things, and when you think about your last season you try to put enjoyment in, the fun that you've had during nearly 15 years in that profession. It's special in that case because it's the final season. You prepare well as you always have, but there's something in you that says you have to enjoy it as much as you can," the German added.