Arsenal youth academy manager Per Mertesacker has revealed that he is thankful for the opportunity to assist Freddie Ljungberg as assistant manager when the Swede stepped in to take temporary charge of the club after the Gunners parted ways with Unai Emery.

Mertesacker joined the Arsenal academy as manager after retiring as a player for the Gunners, assuming the role ahead of the 2018/19 season.  


The German took on the role of assistant manager of the first-team when the club parted ways with Emery, assisting interim head coach Ljungberg in his duties.

The 35-year old admitted he was thankful for the opportunity to work with Ljungberg, claiming he would perform any duty asked of him by the club.

Mertesacker’s role as assistant lasted for three weeks, with the World Cup winning defender admitting he had forgotten about the intensity of first-team football, only realising the extent of the intensity when he returned as second in command to Ljungberg.

“Sometimes, you close a chapter and think, 'first-team football that's away from me right now, I have a new challenge in the academy', but ultimately, it's the football club we are serving and whatever I am needed to do, I will step in”, Mertesacker told the club’s official site.

“When the change in management came and Freddie asked me to be his co-pilot and support him, this is what the club needs me to do right now so I was really, really grateful for the opportunity to support and help Freddie with my energy and everything I could give to the players and to the club.

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“It got extended to three weeks and it was kind of a whirlwind in terms of the intensity of the first-team football.

“I almost forgot about it [the intensity] so I am reflecting now and thinking it was a fantastic time because it showed me how quickly it goes in football and how you need to stay ready for whatever opportunity and possibility comes for you in life.”

Mertesacker has made over 220 appearances for the Gunners in his seven years at the club, winning the FA Cup three times during Arsene Wenger’s reign.