Per Mertesacker is a proper trooper and has insisted that unlike the majority of foreign players who come over to the Premier League, he doesn’t want a Christmas break.

Although it took him a couple of seasons to ‘mentally’ adjust to the intensity of playing an entire season without a break, he now believes that it keeps him sharp.

Speaking recently, the German said, “Yes, I admit I’m playing during the winter period when it’s a bit colder than usual. But I like that because it’s a competition and a tradition here and it keeps everybody on the ball.

“Maybe the first one or two seasons at Arsenal, I was mentally not well during this period and in January I suffered a lot. But now I like to play, you get used to it.”

The defender added, “On the one hand, when I played in Germany, you wanted to switch off and celebrate with your family and take a break through Christmas until New Year’s Eve and then start again. You are in the tunnel over here.”

The BFG is the ultimate professional and I can’t imagine him ever complaining, let alone wanting a break.

The Premier League is different from the likes of the Bundesliga and La Liga in that we don’t give our players time off for the winter. In fact, the Boxing Day fixtures have become a tradition for most football-supporting families. It’s great to see Per come over and truly embrace the tradition, just like he has the club.

The centre back also makes a good point. If footballers were allowed take a break over the festive period, they’d come back unfit, maybe packing a few extra pounds, and may need a few weeks to get back into the swing of things. Without a break we stay at our top level ready to compete.