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Arsenal defender claims he’d rather retire than play for club again

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has admitted that he would rather sit in the stands than play for the club at the moment.

The World Cup winner will take up his new role as academy manager from the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

However, this season he is still part of Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad, but has not featured since playing in the FA Cup at Nottingham Forest in January.

The 33-year-old gave a revealing interview German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, admitting he feels violently sick before games, and claiming he would rather sit on the bench than play.

“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,” the former German international said.

“In the moments before a game starts, my stomach turns around as if I had to vomit. Then I have to choke so violently until my eyes water.

“Everyone says I should enjoy the last year, to play as much as possible and take everything in, [but] 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.”