Mertesacker Taught Me a Lot, but Leaving Arsenal made Me Better – Ajayi

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ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 21: (L-R) Semi Ajayi and Per Mertesacker of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on November 21, 2014 in St Albans, England. Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Super Eagles defender Semi Ajayi has explained how German legend Per Mertesacker gave a him valuable during his time with Arsenal, but believes he became better after he left the club.

Ajayi started his career with Charlton Athletics but caught the eye of Premier League team Arsenal and joined the Gunners Academy on a two-year deal after impressing as a trialist with the club in September 2013.

 

He worked the Gunners for years, but failed to make any official appearance for the club before he joined Rotherham in 2017 after initial loan spell.

 

Now with West Bromwich Albion, Ajayi admitted that he was taught the art of defending from his days at Arsenal, the 26 year old singled out former captain Per Mertesacker as the person who really helped him master the art.

 

“I learnt a lot while I was there so I always look back on the two years,” said the Center Half.

 

“Training with these guys everyday was great because I could go up against some of the best players in the country and around the world.”

 

“Per Mertesacker took a lot of time out to teach me the art of defending and give me some wisdom that he’s picked along the way and shared with me, and I was really grateful for that.

 

Ajayi added that he has no regret over not making official appearance for the four time English champions.

 

“I did hope to one day break into the first team but everyone’s path is different, sometimes you have to take two steps back to take three steps forward.

 

“The things that I learnt while I was there will serve me for the rest of my career,” Ajayi told Super Eagles media team.

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