Per - I was inspired by Gerd Muller

Per Mertesacker was inspired by his father’s hero when he scored our first goal of pre-season.

Gerd Muller, regarded as one of Germany’s finest ever players, scored 68 goals in 62 appearances for his country, including 14 in two World Cups.

Mertesacker’s goals are rather more rare but he invoked the spirit of Muller with a spectacular overhead kick against Sydney FC.

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Per Mertesacker's overhead kick

“It looked very slow - I saw the replay!” said Mertesacker. “I don’t know if you know the name, but in Germany we had a goalscorer and his name was Gerd Muller. He scored 80 per cent of his goals like that, with his back to the goal. He was kind of my role model in that situation.

“You have to have heroes when you are young but I think that was a hero from my father. I listened to stories so that I could implement that into my game today.

”Our second goal against Sydney was scored by Alexandre Lacazette, just 15 minutes after the new signing came off the bench.

“It’s great for himself, to get going that early,” said Per. “He’s only been training for four sessions. 

“It’s good for him and it creates a bond between us and that’s what we want. We want the spirit and everyone to get involved. That is needed for a long, long season. 

“We’ll try to get more efficient in the next couple of weeks to prepare for the next stages we have. We have three more games here on the tour, then we have the Emirates Cup, the Community Shield and the start of the season. It goes very quickly.” 

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