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Mertesacker frustrated with Arsenal role

Per Mertesacker expressed disappointment at losing his starting berth for Arsenal, but the centre-back has vowed to keep fighting and remain professional.

The 31-year-old last featured in the 2-1 FA Cup loss at the hands of Watford on March 13 with Gabriel and Laurent Koscielny favoured by manager Arsene Wenger.

Mertesacker has subsequently taken a watching brief from the substitutes bench for Arsenal's past three matches, much to his frustration.

"I have to admit that this is something new to me. I have been around for quite a while and this has not happened to me before. I am fully match fit, but I am not playing as much as before," Mertesacker told Sport1.

"But I will not give up. I might get another chance. Things can change very fast in football. Every footballer has his ups and downs. You always have to remain professional. I have always done so. That's why I've survived in the business this long.

"I am listening to the manager and he knows he can count on me, regardless of what happens. I want to show on the training pitch that I am ready whenever the manager needs me.

"The team needs every player, so you cannot rule anything out. I have to remain positive. That's the best way to deal with the disappointment of warming the bench."

Mertesacker has made 33 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal - who are third in the Premier League - this campaign.