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Per Mertesacker: ‘I want to make an impact on young people’s lives’

Arsenal’s academy manager talks about his parents’ influence, Mesut Özil and what he wants from his players

How did you find the experience of writing a book?

It was a good exercise for me to reflect on 30 years within football and different experiences. Because I wasn’t regarded as that talented, I always wanted to find out what did it make within me when people said: ‘You’re not good enough.’ And my upbringing ... as my dad sat next to me negotiating a contract and saying: ‘No, no, this is too much’ – he refused to take that money. I was really angry at that time with him but he was sending me messages which were really important moving forward. I look back to those moments and think they had a bigger impact on me than I expected.

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