Per Mertesacker has come out firing in defence of Mesut Ozil who has been turned into a scapegoat for his country’s World Cup failings in Russia this summer.
While Ozil certainly didn’t enjoy the best tournament of his career, he was not the worst German in Russia.
Yet, the controversy surrounding his meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the competition kicked off, and his subsequent refusal to issue a statement about the matter has infuriated many across the nation.
This, despite the fact that one of Ozil’s biggest critics recently met with Vladimir Putin and posed for a photograph with the authoritarian Russian leader.
There have been calls for Ozil to be dropped from the German squad, while others question why he was selected in the first place. His father has called upon him to quit the national set-up in the wake of the criticism.
Mertesacker was speaking to the radio station, NDR2, this week and was strong in his defence of his Arsenal teammate, while also offering his support.
“Tying everything to his person is wrong,” said Mertesacker.
“I think it’s just good that he’s on holiday now, that he can look back, I think he’s very self-critical and can see that [it was not all his fault] well.
“He knows he can call me anytime and count on me, we’ve been playing together for so long and we’ve seen so many great things.”