'I was so furious I twisted my ankle'

Jens Lehmann
Jens Lehmann

As a professional, It's never easy to hear that you're too old to play anymore - but that's exactly what happened to Jens Lehmann. 

Speaking exclusively to our 'In Lockdown' podcast, our former goalkeeper explained how his positive response to bad news from Arsene Wenger rejuvenated his career. 
"He told me that he wasn't going to play me anymore," Lehmann said. "Then he told me, considering my situation for the German national team, he recommended that I leave the club. He did not intend to play me anymore. 

"He said, 'I've experienced playing a goalkeeper for too long, he was too old and I played him for too long. I don't want to make that mistake for a third time, and by the way, you look too tired as well.' 
"Then I left his office and walked into the gym and it was a very intense 30-minute session where I was furious. Tony Colbert [out former fitness coach] was next to me and I was so furious that I twisted my ankle. I was in pain but I insisted on going out to practise because I didn't want to give him the justification of his wrong decision. For him to say, 'Oh, now he's injured. [I made the] right decision.' I didn't want to do that. 
"For a couple of days I was furious, but I started to do some meditation. Philippe Boixel, the osteopath, I was always with him throughout my whole time at Arsenal, every week. He said to me, 'OK, you have to focus on your breathing and your techniques, you're doing yoga which is good.' 
"Then a friend of mine gave me a book about meditation and I started it. From that moment on, about a week after Arsene's decision to drop me, I went to him and said, 'OK boss, I understand your decision, but you have to understand me, I am staying and you will let me play again. I'm sure.' 
"Sometimes we argued. Every week I was in his office, we were arguing, but not in a bad way. After a while I learned how to convince people by the way that you approach them. That was in the book, it was very interesting. It's about programming yourself, visual learning and visual success. 
"I should have done that five years ago or before. It was a game-changer for me. It was very exhausting, every day after training I was meditating for 30 minutes. I even learnt that you can meditate pain and injury in your body, it was very interesting.”

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