|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
2019 11 19 Retrieve
[Per Mertesacker has revealed that he would like the chance to work with Mikel Arteta again] 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, a top guy
[He added on Wenger] 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.
[He said of Wenger, who left the Gunners over the summer] We formed the best partnership of my career. Laurent complemented my game and I loved our time together. It was sad to see him leave Arsenal the way he did, because he deserved a better legacy. All of the fans will soon appreciate him and everything he did for the club, because there are always two sides to a story
[Mertesacker saying of Tomas Rosicky] A special footballer and a fantastic guy. One of my first games was against him when he was at Borussia Dortmund. He was tough to stop, so I was really glad to have him as a team-mate at Arsenal
[He added on Spanish schemer Cazorla] One hell of a footballer - in training it was ridiculous! It’s sad when a naturally gifted player struggles with injury. Santi didn’t look like an athlete and wasn’t fast, but he could do everything
2020 02 15 Retrieve
[Mertesacker opens up on how Robert Enke’s suicide is shaping Arsenal’s academy 10 years on] He encouraged me, he pointed out my qualities - which one sometimes no longer sees himself as an insecure 19-year-old. He let me feel that he felt safe with me in the defence. I think a more beautiful experience can hardly be done at work, no matter what job you do: he gave me his trust
[When discussing Enke’s death] It was devastating, it felt really heavy at that time. I was sad, he was a very close friend of mine. It’s a very sensitive topic but I felt devastated. You question a lot. You question your life, you question your ability to connect with people. But I hope what I can learn from this is that you need to be very careful with the people living alongside you and you need to care. That’s something we are really keen on in the academy, to be the most caring academy in the world and that’s the challenge we put on ourselves
It’s one horrible example where people can be athletes and play to a high, high level on a weekly basis, but could suffer something else that we don’t know about. And that’s a big lesson for everyone, [it shows] that everyone is really in danger of mental illness. We need to be really cautious about this topic. Now we are here and sometimes it feels like the media will maybe do a campaign for a week to put an emphasis on it, but we then operate as usual the week after. It’s really about the people who live in the here and now to make it work
When I was playing there were sometimes people you could speak to like psychologists, but it was not as open an environment as it is right now. The chance we have now is to influence the next generation, so we’re really keen on bringing it all out and being conscious about mental health. When I struggled before games I was not really comfortable with the situation. I was always thinking that speaking about yourself or seeking help shows a weakness. We are trying to get rid of that notion by bringing out more stories about myself, about others, bringing more attention [to the fact] that top athletes struggle, bringing it more to life in a normal way and encouraging youngsters to speak out because we are a club that cares
When we look at the mission of the academy, [which is] to create the most challenging and most caring youth academy in the world, then you can see from the statement that we want to prepare for life. We want to be the most challenging for the kids to push them on to the next level, but as well in that challenge, we have to be caring in the sense of how can we support every single individual to live up to the expectations and support them in every aspect of their personal and individual development. There is a huge objective in our mission to build these strong individuals to cope with any scenario in life. That’s why we think our vision of strong, young Gunners is perfect in that sense. We try to put everything in place here to make sure there is an open forum to mental health
On the one hand we want to be the best football academy, where we build youngsters up to play in the team, to play football, to play the game they love. But we teach them to do it with respect, discipline and humility, and in these words already are a lot of things that indicate we want to do it the right way. We speak about physical health, but the mental part of it plays a huge part in that. How do we interact with each other, how do we keep that open forum alive, how do we develop our players, our coaches our staff and raise their awareness about how we talk to each other? We have a range here of Under-9s to Under-23s, how can we learn from each other, how can an Under-9 learn from an Under-23 in terms of his journey, on the struggle and the adversity that will kick in? So we do a lot of stuff that makes them more aware and hopefully more happy to live a more fulfilling life
2020 04 11 Retrieve
[Inside Hale End: How Per Mertesacker has shaken up Arsenal’s academy] In my new role as Arsenal academy manager I will do everything I can to challenge the young players’ mindsets. I want to challenge them so that they are ready to take on new ideas when it comes to their body and soul. I want to convince them they have to do something to get to the top of the world and I want to be an example for them. For me, there wasn’t really a way up but somehow I made it there anyway because I did everything I possibly could to give me the best chances to succeed. Talent is what you make of your situation.
When we look at the mission of the academy, [which is] to create the most challenging and most caring youth academy in the world, then you can see from the statement that we want to prepare them for life. On the one hand we want to be the best football academy, where we build youngsters up to play in the team, to play football, to play the game they love. But we teach them to do it with respect, discipline and humility and in these words already are a lot of things that indicate we want to do it the right way. We speak about physical health, but the mental part of it plays a huge part in that. How do we interact with each other, how do we keep that open forum alive, how do we develop our players, our coaches, our staff and raise their awareness about how we talk to each other? We have a range here of Under-9s to Under-23s. How can we learn from each other, how can an Under-9 learn from an Under-23 in terms of his journey, on the struggle and the adversity that will kick in? So, we do a lot of stuff that makes them more aware and hopefully happier to live a more fulfilling life.
2020 05 14 Retrieve
[Per Mertesacker is backing Mikel Arteta to deliver a fantastic future at Arsenal] I’m so delighted that Mikel has a place where he belongs, that’s my belief and that was my belief already as a player. His leadership is fantastic and I felt it myself, just being vice-captain and learning from him, how to handle situations, how to man up, be the captain and show it, but as well to have the empathy and the feeling for people. I learned a lot from him and I can only say that our working relationship is great and our personal relationship is great, so I can see a fantastic future for us. It’s just building pieces with Edu as well, so I think we’re in a fantastic position. We don’t take anything for granted, now is the time to really push on and make sure we come back to where we belong, and that’s the Champions League and having world-class players in the building, and having world-class young players. We want to build on our DNA that was developed over centuries, so we cannot forget the history and the greatness of the club. We are inheriting that and we are sons of so many greats that have led this club to greatness, so it’s a big responsibility, not only for myself but for Mikel, Edu and all the great leadership we have. I feel we have more and more people in the right places and I feel great about it
2020 05 16 Retrieve
[Mertesacker understood how quickly Gnabry’s life was changing, as the player himself admitted] One day, you’re watching Mesut Ozil on TV with your mates, and he’s your idol. Then two years later, you’re having a coffee with him. You were watching him in awe, assisting Cristiano [Ronaldo] in El Clasico. And then he’s right in front of you, asking you how you’re doing. It’s surreal. It’s hard to not change, to be honest. It’s hard to remember who you are
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