Per Mertesacker praises Arsenal youngsters

The Germany defender believes the youngsters at the club should be praised for stepping up this season.

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has praised the club’s young stars in an interview with their official website.

Manager Arsene Wenger has been stung by injuries to key players throughout the season, necessitating the use of some of his younger stars for large periods of the campaign.

In particular, Francis Coquelin has came in an impressed in defensive midfield while more recently young right-back Hector Bellerin has been drafted in and made the position his own in the absence of summer signing Mathieu Debuchy.

Now, Germany international Mertesacker has praised the youngsters for their performances and the effect they have had on the more senior players at the club.

“We have suffered a lot of injuries to players who were absolutely amazing for us last season, so we have to replace them with young players,” he said.

“But there was always that good energy because they have proved they can produce good performances for the team and that raised everyone’s performances. I’m pretty delighted with the team performances throughout the year. “

The defender has also cited the after-effects of the World Cup as a reason for the increased number on injuries and lack of form at the beginning of the season.

The Gunners suffered an indifferent start to the campaign but now find themselves second in the table after Saturday’s 4-1 defeat of Liverpool at the Emirates and are the form side in the Premier League at present. As far as Mertesacker is concerned, last summer’s global showpiece in Brazil had a negative impact on the side at the start of the domestic season.

“Those who came from the World Cup had absolutely no break and no pre-season,” he added.

“We started right off the season and tried to get form and a lot of players grabbed injuries and obviously not the best form. It took us a while to be at our top, but I have to say the belief and the trust from the manager from the inner core of this club is absolutely amazing.”

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