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Ajayi: I Learnt A Lot From Mertesacker During My Time At Arsenal

Ajayi: I Learnt A Lot From Mertesacker During My Time At Arsenal

West Bromwich Albion defender Semi Ajayi has revealed he learnt a lot during his stint at Arsenal especially from the club’s former captain Per Mertesacker.

Ajayi joined the Gunners youth academy in the summer of 2013 from Charlton Athletic after impressing on trial and went on to spend two years with the side.

Ajayi, however, was not afforded a single first-team appearance before his departure from the Emirates Stadium, but has explained the lessons he leant during his time with the side has continued to help him in his career.

”I learned a lot while I was there so I always look back on the two years,” Ajayi told Super Eagles media team in an Instagram chat.

“Training with these guys every day 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.

“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.

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“The things that I learned while I was there will serve me for the rest of my career.”

His failure to break into the Gunners first team under Arsene Wenger forced him to leave the side in 2017 to join Championship club Rotherham United, initially on loan before the deal was made permanent.

Ajayi enjoyed regular playing time during his stay with Rotherham, featuring in 81 league games and delivered some spectacular performances, winning the Championship Player of the Month for March 2019 and the club’s Player of the Season.

The defender’s eye-catching displays saw West Brom move for his signature and added him to their ranks in July last year.

Since teaming up with the Baggies, the utility player has featured in 35 league game, to help the side to second spot in the league table with 70 points from 37 games before the outbreak of coronavirus suspended football in England.

His top-notch performances have also seen him become a regular in the Super Eagles and he will hope to continue his consistent form when football activities resume.

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