Per Mertesacker: Old-School Values
The title of Per Mertesacker’s new autobiography is BFG: Big Friendly German. When we visited him in outer London, we found him indeed to be an amiable fellow. Yet this World Cup and triple FA Cup winner was nothing but imposing when he starred as a centre-half for Hannover 96, Werder Bremen, and, most famously, Arsenal and Germany.
Nowadays, Per is the manager of the Gunners’ academy, and he gives us a fascinating insight into how he instils the three core values of Respect, Discipline and Humility into his young charges, reflecting the old-school upbringing which he benefited from.
Per loved his time playing at Arsenal, but missed the more intimate relationship between fans and stars which exists in Germany. He explains why he trained to help the mentally ill instead of learning how to use a rifle, talks about the pressure becoming the primary earner for a family can place on talented kids, and is brilliant on that incredible 7-1 drubbing of Brazil in the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup.
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