At Arsenal, the club where he won the FA Cup three times, Per Mertesacker was affectionately called the Big Friendly German. Standing at 6ft 6in, he was the defender who took fitness so seriously that he invested ten per-cent of his annual salary on personal therapists. His endurance would help him in a decade- long career with the German national team which culminated in him lifting the World Cup in 2014. In his autobiography, Mertesacker reveals the story of that summer in Brazil, explaining the tactical tricks of Jogi Low as well as the motivational arts of Arsene Wenger. He asks himself to what extent talent plays a role in football, having been a youth who was told he had too little of it until he was promoted by Ralf Rangnick at Hannover 96. Now the academy manager at Arsenal, Mertesacker details what it really takes to become a success in the game he started playing when he was just four years old.
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Date of Publication: 19/09/2019