By Nick Ames in Lviv
The Germany defender has been keeping a close eye on his fellow Gunners when the ‘Nationalmannschaft’ has not been in action - and had particular praise for Walcott’s stunning substitute appearance against Sweden.
“I’m very pleased for Theo and Alex,” Mertesacker told Arsenal.com. “They were both in and out of the team, but then Theo scored and it was a special moment - it always is when you have to wait for your chance and then play like that.
“He showed that he’s a great player, having had a great season for Arsenal. I think it’s a great thing when you are not in the starting line-up but are able to show your full strength and take your opportunity. He showed that he is very confident.”
Four days previously, Mertesacker had expressed certainty that Arsenal fans would soon see what a future Gunner, Lukas Podolski, could do. It took the forward just 19 minutes to do exactly that on Sunday, breaking the deadlock with a clinical finish in Germany's 2-1 win over Denmark.
“Sometimes I have a good feeling about players,” smiled Mertesacker. “Lukas showed that he can be a good defensive player but also a good goalscorer - and with his right foot too. It’s very good to have him in the squad because he’s a striker who is always dangerous in every position on the pitch."
He also had words for fellow Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny who, like him, is having to be patient as he bids for a starting position.
“I’m very happy to see a lot of the players doing well, but I would like to see Laurent play for France too,” he said. “I think we are in the same situation - not playing at the moment and having to be ready for our chance.”