Per Mertesacker says he hasn’t re-watched the FA Cup final in which he put in such an epic performance, and dismissed suggestions that it should be known as the ‘Mertesacker final’.
The Arsenal captain had been sidelined for the whole season, but because of injuries and suspensions was handed his first start against Chelsea in May.
His experience came to the fore as he put in an tremendous display to play his part in winning the cup. Afterwards, former player Martin Keown said the game should be known by the 33 year old’s name, but Mertesacker won’t have that, saying there’s too much focus on individuals and not the team.
In an excellent interview on the official site, he said, “It was exciting for me to see how things can turn. Nobody believed in me and to call it the ‘Mertesacker Final’ says it all.
I don’t take that at all, though, because it’s not about me. The way people think about teams nowadays and singling out individuals is wrong for me. I won’t take that.
I felt I had to say something about me, but I meant it more about the team generally because Chelsea were super-favourites and everyone thought they would win.
“We kept our legacy in the FA Cup going and that was our main aim that day.”
He also said he doesn’t pay too much attention to what ex-players and pundits have to say, and his meeting with Keown in the tunnel after the game was visibly awkward.
“I normally don’t talk to ex-players who are now pundits much because they have their words and their criticism, which is absolutely fine,” he said.
“Sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t. You have to pick up the right things for yourself. Sometimes you take things away, sometimes you don’t.
“This was all a team effort and just for myself to get that trust from the manager and the players was more vital for me than anything else in the world.
“When I get praise from pundits, I take it but I put things into perspective because everyone wrote me off for the previous half of the year.
“Nobody believed in me, so I didn’t really care. I just thought about us and myself being in the position where nobody believed in me other than those within the team and the manager.
“That was amazing for me to feel.”
Read the full interview here, in which he also discusses his final season, taking over as Academy Manager next year, and lots more.