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

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The former Germany international has reconsidered his apparent decision to hang up his boots, and he will now continue at the Emirates Stadium

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.

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.