Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker knows he faces fight to reclaim starting spot after recovering from knee injury

Arsenal club captain Per Mertesacker is pain free and desperate to resume full training, but recognises he might not get picked even when he is fit again.

The World Cup winning central defender was ruled out until January after sustaining a serious knee injury in July.

But he has remained in and around the Arsenal first team squad and is positive he will make a full recovery.

The player, known at Arsenal as their Big Friendly German, said: “As far as my injury is concerned, I’m feeling good.

“When you’re out long-term there are always doubts and concerns about when you’re going to be back, but I’ve got a good mindset.

“I’m very positive and hopefully I can continue to develop slowly but in a good way.

“I’m not rushing but of course I cannot wait to be back on the pitch. I’ve got no pain in the knee at the moment so hopefully that continues.”

Speaking in his programme column, Mertesacker admitted he faces a battle to regain his place from fellow countryman Shkodran ‘Leader’ Mustafi, the big summer signing from Valencia, who has formed an instant partnership with Laurent Koscielny at the back.

He added: “What I find most impressive is how quickly they have developed their partnership and it is getting better and better. The defensive structure will be vital for this team moving forward.”

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