Former Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker has explained that his compatriot Mesut Özil would leave him feeling ‘really pissed’ during their spell together in north London.
Mertesacker, who has taken over Arsenal’s academy since retiring, joined Arsenal in 2011 and went on to make 221 appearances for the Gunners – more than for any other club in his career.
He welcomed Real Madrid star Özil to the club two years after he joined, and ahead of the release of his new book, Mertesacker explained that his former international teammate’s laid back attitude took some getting used to.
“First of all he loves playing football. It doesn’t come across so often,” Mertesacker said, quoted by The Mirror. “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 pissed with him for days and weeks.
“But he delivered magic moments for us, moments when you thought he could go to another level.”
Both players won thee FA Cups during their time together at Arsenal, but 34-year-old Mertesacker decided to hang up his boots last year and instead take up a role with Arsenal’s youth players – a path that club legend Freddie Ljungberg also took before becoming Unai Emery’s assistant.