Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker says he’s happy to sit in the stands until he officially hangs up his boots at the end of the season.
The World Cup winner hasn’t appeared for the Gunners since their shock FA Cup 3rd round exit to Nottingham Forest on January 4.
Mertesacker is due to move into a full-time coaching role with Arsenal’s youth side from this summer. The 33 year-old has made only 13 appearances over the last two seasons and admits the strain of playing top-level football is having an impact on his ageing body.
“My body is finished,” he told German outlet Der Spiegel. “Everyone says I should enjoy the last year, to play as much as possible and take everything in.
“I would rather sit on the bench or – even better – in the stands, and then, for the first time in my life, aged more than 30, I will feel free.
“Some days you realise that everything is a burden, both physically and mentally, but you have to deliver without a doubt, even if you are injured.
“It was worth it for all of the memories.”
Mertesacker, who arrived at the Emirates in 2011, has featured in 155 Premier League matches. He’s lifted three FA Cups during his time with Arsenal.