Per Mertesacker admits that being on the Arsenal bench is a new experience but he is determined to prove to Arsene Wenger that he is ready for action when required.
The BFG has started only three of the Gunners’ last eight Premier League games, with Gabriel preferred in partnership with Laurent Koscielny.
“I’ve got to admit it is new to me,” he told German website sport1.de. “I’ve been around a long time now and this has not so often been the case, but I’m in good spirits, am fit and I have no pain.
“Of course I’m playing less, but I’m sticking at it. Maybe I’ll get another chance. Things change quickly nowadays.
“You get ups and downs as a footballer and you’ve just got to remain professional, and I’ve always been that down the years.
“That’s why I’ve survived for so long in this business. I listen closely to what the coach says and he knows that he can count on me, no matter what happens.
“I want to show him in every training session that I’m ready when needed. The team needs every player, whether I’m on the bench now or not – I don’t just write it off.
“I always look ahead positively and that is the best way to get over the disappointment of not playing.”