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‘I will not stop’ - Mertesacker makes retirement U-turn after shock Arsenal claims logo 03-06-2017

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has performed a remarkable U-turn regarding his plans to retire from football at the end of the season.

The towering centre-back, 32, struggled with a knee injury during 2016-17 and made his first start in more than a year as Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 to win the FA Cup at the end of May.

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Mertesacker was called upon by Arsene Wenger with Laurent Koscielny (suspended), Gabriel (injury) and Shkodran Mustafi (illness) all unavailable and he turned in a commanding display as the Premier League champions were denied a double.

It looked set to be the final game of Mertesacker's career, but the World Cup-winning former Germany international has now affirmed he wants to keep going.

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"I will not stop immediately, I have a year on my contract and will definitely continue playing," he explained to Sport1, hours after apparently hinting his time as a player was up.

Speaking to the same media outlet earlier in the day, Mertesacker had admitted Arsenal's FA Cup win would be a great moment to say farewell to the sport, but he now appears to have had second thoughts.

"I was extremely lucky with my career and I want to finish on a high," he said.

"I am motivated, but I cannot play every three days any more. I don't want to stretch my luck.

"I recently told him [Wenger] that I am tired, mentally wasted. The first time in my career I thought it makes no sense anymore, that I'll retire. No matter how hard I practiced I didn't get a chance.

"At Arsenal you are replaceable so quickly as a player, I don't want to stand in someone's way. Winning the FA Cup was an brilliant ending which I could not expect.

"Arsenal want to keep hold of me and there are already talks. It will be in the business operations. I will stand on the other side."

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Mertesacker joined Arsenal from Werder Bremen in 2011 and has since made 210 appearances for the club in all competitions, winning three FA Cups.

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