Former Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jamie Redknapp has written in The Daily Mail that he was impressed with the performance of Per Mertesacker on Monday.
The former Germany international defender started the FA Cup quarter-final tie for Arsenal against Manchester United at Old Trafford and played the entire 90 minutes.
Mertesacker gave a good account of himself against the Red Devils, recording two tackles, three interceptions and seven clearances, as the Gunners registered a 2-1 win to book their place in the semi-finals of the prestigious competition.
The 2014 World Cup winner has been in disappointing form all season and came under criticism for his performance against AS Monaco in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie last month.
Arsenal lost that game 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium, and Mertesacker’s display - which was woeful - was strongly criticised by fans and pundits alike.
Redknapp was one of those who was left unimpressed with the 30-year-old that evening, but the former England international believes that the German has redeemed himself with Monday’s performance.
“Arsenal were shot to pieces in the 3-1 defeat by Monaco and if it had been down to me, Per Mertesacker would never have played for them again after his display that night,” the 41-year-old wrote in The Daily Mail. “But his performance at Old Trafford showed character and a welcome return to form.”
Mertesacker was never one of the best centre-backs in the world, and this season has left him badly exposed.
Although the German is hugely experienced, his lack of pace has often put him under pressure this campaign.
However, on Monday, the veteran did show that he can still do the job. Arsenal need a leader at the back, and Mertesacker demonstrated against Louis van Gaal's United that he can be that leader.
Mertesacker will now need to maintain the form he showed against United. The former Werder Bremen centre-back is not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up once Gabriel returns from injury, and he will need to give his all in the upcoming games.