Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker's brother has shared stories on the German international's upbringing and time at the Emirates with blog Gooner Talk, while also admitting that he supported arch rivals Manchester United as a kid.
Timo Mertesacker, who is three years younger than big brother Per, chose United as a child following a visit to his aunt's in Plymouth, when both boys were offered the chose of Red Devils or Arsenal shirts.
The 26-year-old now describes his United fandom as a misguided decision, while also revealing that Per's affiliation to the Gunners stretches all the way back to his childhood.
When asked about siding with United the sibling jokingly told GoonerTalk that it was the "biggest mistake of his life," before explaining: "It was random – I picked the United shirt because I liked the look of the Devil on the crest.
"Per picked the Arsenal shirt. What a coincidence eh?”
More importantly Mertesacker has overcome early difficulties and criticisms from the British press to become a cherished and pivotal cog in the Arsenal defence, something Timo takes great pride in on regular visits to watch the Gunners.
Timo revealed: “He’s got new-found confidence this year, especially in 2013. He’s doing well, he could teach me a lot.
“He shows his commitment right now to win titles. He does everything to win and that’s why he’s just extended his contract.
“It’s fantastic how he managed to turn it around after a tough first season. It was impressive for me. Right now we are proud of the Arsenal family.”
Gunners fans will see plenty more of Per over the next few seasons, after the experienced centre-back signed a new long-term contract earlier this week, which reaffirms his commitment to their continued quest for silverware.
As for Timo, back problems denied him the chance to follow Per into the professional game, but he is a regular at Arsenal away matches when possible and must surely smile when a loud chorus of the club's famous 'BFG' chant is in full flow.
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