Alan Smith has credited Arsenal`s Per Mertesacker for speaking candidly about the mental and physical burden professional football can bring.
The 33-year-old defender, who is set to become Arsenal`s new academy manager for the 2018/19 season, spoke of the intense pressure involved and admitted he would rather not have to play again before his retirement.
Mertesacker said: Some days you realise that everything is a burden, both physically and mentally... but you have to deliver without a doubt, even if you are injured.
Former striker Smith, who made 264 appearances for Arsenal, says players facing similar problems as Mertesacker in their careers is not uncommon.
You don`t normally hear players speak that candidly. To be fair, a lot of players will think that without saying it, but he`s 33, he`s achieved almost everything possible in the game, said Smith, speaking on Premier League Daily.
He`s a World Cup winner but he`s one of those players who takes the responsibility on his shoulders. That`s what has made him a valuable presence in the Arsenal dressing room that`s been short on leaders.
I know of players, never mind about matchdays, in the morning before training they disappear off to the toilet and they`d be physically sick because the whole thing got to them - that expectation, playing with better players, you have a move to a big club.
It`s a side of professional football that the public don`t see. It`s constant, it`s always on you.
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