The 37-year-old academy manager takes pride in seeing Arsenal give opportunities to their academy stars. He sees the likes of Saka and Emile Smith Rowe guiding the club back to their former glory. Mertesacker said:
“It’s always been a narrative at Arsenal to give young players a chance to play at the top. We’re asking Bukayo and Emile to lead us back to the Champions League. They will proudly take that but we also have to understand the context.”
The former Arsenal centre-back has stated the academy will always give their youngsters a chance to learn from their mistakes. By doing so, Mertesacker believes they will be able to represent Arsenal in the next few years.
Mertesacker also wants Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe to inspire the next batch of youngsters at the Arsenal academy. He believes the achievements of the duo will help academy players believe they can challenge for a berth in the first-team. The 37-year-old added:
“We are giving young players the chance to learn to be vulnerable, to be exposed to the highest level and to be proper leaders for this club in two or three years’ time, while acknowledging they probably need to suffer before they bring us back to glory. That’s my expectations. Hopefully Bukayo and Emile can take on the next level of talent into the first team and challenge them in the right way.”
Arsenal are currently in the rebuilding phase after missing out on European football for the first time in 25 years last season. The Gunners are putting their faith in youngsters after signing six new players who are all aged 23 or below this summer.
Per Mertesacker convinced Buyako Saka will deliver for Arsenal following Euro 2020 disappointment
Per Mertesacker believes Bukayo Saka’s penalty miss in the final of Euro 2020 will make him an even better player for both club and country. The Arsenal academy manager has backed Saka to learn from his disappointments and come back a better player.
“Even the huge disappointment in the summer in terms of missing the penalty. That’s the making of Bukayo Saka. It was a lot on him but he will deliver for England and for Arsenal in the upcoming years. You can be reassured of that. It’s just need to be there to support him when these moments happen and he absolutely has had that from everyone involved.”