Per Mertesacker has revealed he is happy with the way his recovery from injury is going but is still refusing to put a date on when he might be back in action.
The defender has been out since picking up a knee problem in pre-season and was originally scheduled to return in November but that now looks unlikely as he admits there is still plenty of work to do.
“My body has responded quite well to everything,” he told Standard Sport. “My muscles are coming back and it is a painless process because my knee feels good. I’m quite happy with the progress but there’s still a lot to do. In terms of when I’ll be back, there is no schedule because I’m going from week to week.
“When you are injured, you have to be very positive from the start and think that you are already working your way back to the pitch. That was my mindset from when I knew I needed surgery. Because I’ve got good experiences with injury, I trust myself.
“I knew I had to pick myself up quickly to get into that mindset. I wanted to be positive and involve the best people I could to get fit as quickly as possible.”
In his absence Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi have forged a promising relationship at centre-back and Mertesacker has lavished praise on the France international.
- [Match Highlights] Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – All The Goals And Highlights
- [Player Ratings] Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – Giroud Saves Gunners
- [Confirmed Lineups] Southampton v Arsenal – Mertesacker Starts For Gunners
“Knowing that we have players like Laurent makes it easier for me when I’m not around the group,” he added. “I’ve been working really hard on my rehab in Germany recently and sometimes it is not easy to be away from the squad when you have just been named captain. The good thing is I trust our leaders and that’s something you have to learn as well.
“The way people are stepping up is fantastic and it gives room for other players to step into more important roles and be responsible, too.
“Laurent makes the difference for our group with his determination and belief. He feels good about his position and confident about his situation and that’s what he shows on the pitch. So we need him in that role where he takes responsibility and is consistent, no matter what happens. People here gave him trust and he wants to give that back.”
Mertesacker’s comments suggest we should not expect him back in action anytime soon, although fortunately the form of Koscielny and Mustafi has ensured he is not missed.