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Name Per Mertesacker
Gender Male
Ethnic German
Job German Footballer
  Arsenal Captain
Desc Per Mertesacker might be the slowest player on this list. However, he’s also one of the smartest. Mertesacker’s speed of thought makes up his slowness of foot. After a shaky start, he is emerging as a centre-half in the great Arsenal tradition


Club as Player Arsenal FC

2017 07 15 Retrieve

[Per Mertesacker reveals the inspiration behind his unlikely overhead kick during a pre-season match against Sydney FC] In Germany, we had a goalscorer, his name was Gerd Muller. He scored like that 80 per cent of the time, always with his back to the goal. He was my role model in that situation

2017 08 19 Retrieve

[Per Mertesacker talks about life in London] That’s what I love, getting the tube, not getting any recognition, trying to be as normal as possible. Sometimes you get a big Arsenal fan and they tell you they have a season ticket or want to have a chat, which is fine. Some want a selfie, but sometimes I just want to say: ‘Let’s just shake hands. It means more than a picture’. But not a lot of guys ever think that way!

2019 09 12 Retrieve

[Arsenal hero Per Mertesacker admits he would get p**d off at Mesut Ozil over his attitude]</b> First of all [Ozil] loves playing football. It doesn’t come across so often. He is a genius in terms of what he can produce with the ball, you can see that in every training session. Once he gets the ball, he’s rested. He thinks he is playing in the park. He can deliver the ball that no one else can deliver. He has got that magical sense. But he is not the kind of guy who approaches people and says, ‘You need to do this, that and that’. He’s a different character and sometimes I struggled with that. Sometimes I was really p**d with him for days and weeks. But he delivered magic moments for us, moments when you thought he could go to another level

[Mertesacker has also shed light on Arsene Wenger’s struggles before finishing his 22-year Gunners reign] When he lost one game, we often lost a few in a row. We could show off our class across six FA Cup games, but 38 League matches in ten months were a different matter.

We simply lacked the consistency all top teams need. You couldn’t win the League on eight defeats a year Arsene Wenger was always the kind of manager whose belief in his team’s qualities was steady as a rock and who approached matters with never-ending patience.

He didn’t lose his nerve during losing streaks, either. He stuck with his convictions and his players, no matter how strong the wind was blowing. It was his greatest strength.

Wondering whether it was also his greatest weakness and whether he was too lenient with us in, in my opinion, a little too simplistic

2019 11 11 Retrieve

[Per Mertesacker praises Mikel Arteta] I was his vice-captain at Arsenal and he trusted me. I was by his side during team meetings and we had a great bond. I’d love to work with him again. [He is] a top guy

[Per Mertesacker praises Arsene Wenger, who was appointed last week as the new Head of Football Development at Fifa] He has an aura – it’s difficult to explain. He demands a lot, but makes you feel comfortable, too. It’s about trust. In hard times, he was a rock protecting us. I’ll always be very grateful to him

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[Mertesacker on FA Cup final renamed to incorporate Prince Williams’s ‘Heads Up’ mental health campaign] I was not comfortable speaking with certain individuals because I thought I needed to be strong, resistant and resilient, and deal with any kind of circumstances. Nowadays, there are more mechanisms than ever to start a conversation, and to give players tools to really cope with it