The retired German international expressed his views on the rivalry shared by Walcott and Bellerin during his time with the Gunners.
In an interview with The Athletic, former Arsenal star Per Mertesacker has opened up on his favourite Gunner during his time. Hector Bellerin and Lukas Podolski were amongst the prominent names mentioned by the 35 year-old, who retired from football in 2018.
“The first thing Lukas (Podolski) would do after getting on to the pitch for training was to smack the ball cross-field into the far side of the goal and start laughing out loud. Every single time. No warming up at all. Full power,” said Mertesacker.
“He was a phenomenon,” he added.
The German went on to heap praise on his fellow compatriot saying his volleys from the edge of the were simply unstoppable.
Moving on, Mertesacker also spoke upon Arsenal’s speedster duo of Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott. Walcott was one of the most feared attackers in England during his peak and his incredible solo run against Liverpool before delivering an assist to Emmanuel Adebayor is one of the most memorable events in the Premier League history.
On the other hand, Bellerin too is considered amongst the swiftest of players in Europe. His famous track back run during Swansea City’s counter attack to deny Bafetimbi Gomis made the Spaniard one of the fan favourites at Arsenal.
“Hector and Theo Walcott were locked in a constant battle for clocking up the fastest sprint numbers,” Mertesacker went on.
“It was a big rivalry — a bit like (sprinters) Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson in the 1980s.”
“If one of them finished ahead by second or so, the other one would insist on trying again to do a faster time.
Yet, the former Werder Bremen defender admitted that Bellerin was still a bit faster than Walcott picking the 24 year-old as a perfect player according to him.
Since his retirement, Mertesacker is doing his bit at the managerial level, joining the Arsenal Academy as a manager in 2018.