Per Mertesacker finally made a return to the football pitch on Sunday in Arsenal’s game against Everton. The defender has finally overcome a serious knee injury.
The injury has kept the German defender off the pitch for much of the season. Arsene Wenger chose to play Mertesacker for the last 37 minutes against Everton. It also proved an opportunity for the defender to regain his fitness level. Arsenal secured a 3-1 victory, however it was not enough to grant them a top four finish in the league.
Mertesacker talked to the club’s official website about the joy of being able to play again. He did make sure to mention that his return to the field was needed especially as a result of several players being unavailable in the crucial game.
“We had a couple of injuries before the game that made me in the squad. Then we unfortunately had a red card for Laurent Koscielny and another injury, which gave me a chance to play.”
“But I felt quite good, honestly. What I did in training over the last year paid off. Being on the pitch with the boys is what I used to do for 15 years. I am still learning but I am used to it. Take nothing for granted but it was special,” Mertesacker says.
Despite a strong last part of the season, Arsenal miss out on a Champions League spot. It is the first time in 20 years that the club has not been part of the competition. Per Mertesacker tries to remain positive and focus on Arsenal’s next important game. The Gunners have a chance to secure a trophy when they meet Chelsea for the FA Cup final.
“It was a nice atmosphere after a win and we appreciate the fans and vice-versa. It was a nice atmosphere but we did not get what we wanted, so there is a little bit of disappointment. But heading to the FA Cup final is something we are buzzed about.“