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Mertesacker, the Academy, and the human element

No doubt at this point you’ll have seen some of the plethora of interviews with Per Mertesacker, who was doing promotion this week for the newly released English version of his book ‘Big Friendly German’.

I was offered the chance to go and interview him for it, but because the media day was taking place on the day I flew back from Spain, I obviously couldn’t go. Andrew Allen went instead, and he’s done a great piece which you can read over on Arseblog News. I was slightly disappointed not to have been able to do it because Per has always been one of my favourite players, but we’ll always have the Facebook response to this post as a fine crossover moment.

He was a bit of a surprise choice as the new Academy Manager, because there were others in the frame who thought they’d get the job due to greater experience, and he was given the job while he still had a year left of his playing career. It was unusual, especially for a club like Arsenal, but when you read about what he’s doing, his approach to the job, and some of the decisions he’s made, you have to think it’s been an astute appointment by Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis.