Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed his full reasoning for retiring from international football this summer.
The German was a mainstay in his national side, the one that went on to win the World Cup in Brazil earlier this year, but decided to hang up his boots where international football is concerned to prioritise playing for the Gunners.
And Mertesacker admits several factors played their part in his decision.
Firstly, the 30-year-old admits he needs more time to 'rest and refuel,' although he also stresses that Arsenal need him more than his country did.
“I reflected and last season was very tough,” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player. “This season won’t be less intense so I needed a chance to rest and refuel. I want to push forward with the club now to show I can still improve.
“I realised over the last few years that the club really needs me and that was a big motivation to win something with them and then with Germany. Now I’m really focused to do even more with Arsenal.
“There’s even more respect and support here than I expected when I signed. This club has topped everything and I’m really proud to be part of it, especially after learning more about the fans and its history.
“As vice-captain I feel more responsibility for my work here and I want to achieve more in my next three years with Arsenal. One chapter has closed and the other one has opened even more, that’s how it feels for me.”