Per Mertesacker has decided to call it quits on his glittering international career where he has been capped 104 times, debuting on 2004 against Iran.
The news of Mertesacker’s retirement from international play comes right after Phillip Lahm, the captain of the German national team, decided to retire after winning the prestigious World Cup.
Considering he’s only at the age of 29, which is fairly young for a center back, Mertesacker’s retirement comes as a surprise because he’ll still be able to play in the upcoming Euro 2016 and possibly the next World Cup held in Russia in 2018. The fact that he also plays in the central defense even makes the case for him to continue on beyond 2018 in his international career.
But, after winning the World Cup and numerous young German defenders on the rise at the moment, Mertesacker feels as if the German team is heading in the right direction and that there’s no need for him to try and continue his international career.
With this news, the one person that’ll be delighted with his decision is undoubtedly Arsenal manger Arsene Wenger.
The fans and Wenger will be jubilant knowing that Mertesacker does not need to go on international duty and possibly get injured. Plus, he can solely focus his attention to his club duties instead of his international duties, helping him not only physically but also mentally as well. He’ll be able to stay more healthy and produce even more consistently without the extra miles on his legs during international play.
Wenger had some issues with the national team coaches in the past, asking them to limit the amount of game time each of his players can play so that when they come back from international break, the players will still be fresh for the club.
Not only that, he, like many club managers, is afraid that the players will come back injured which will then heavily impact the season.
Mertesacker isn’t the fastest guy for a central defender and will be asked to play plenty of games for the team therefore; allowing him to get those extra days of rest during international break is the greatest thing Wenger could have asked for.
It’s not only the amount of games reduced that’ll help Mertesacker, but also the amount of traveling reduced for the player. When players go off during their international duties, it’s sometimes hard for them to get back in rhythm after finishing it and going back to their clubs.
Mertesacker has already racked up a ton of games representing German during the Euro’s and the World Cup and not having any of these competitions for him will only benefit his well-being as well as the club.