Mertesacker relishing Van Persie clash


Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed the friendly war of words has already begun between himself and club captain Robin Van Persie, ahead of their prospective clash at Euro 2012.

With Germany and Holland paired in the same group for this summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine, the Gunners teammates could lock horns on June 13, and the 27-year-old stopper is relishing the prospect of facing his counterpart.

"He said he would be happy to see me next summer!" Mertesacker told Arsenal Player. "That was the first thing he said after the draw.

"This is not a friendly though, it's a tough game and therefore both of us want to go through the group stage.

"It will be very tough to stop Robin. I think his best position is in the front, in the middle. There he can use his unbelievable skills. He is so reliable in scoring goals it is incredible.

"It's a good group, obviously it's one of the best at the Euros. I'm looking forward to playing those big teams and players like Robin."

With Portugal and Denmark making up the rest of Group B, or, the 'group of death' as it has already been labelled, Mertesacker knows that Germany will have to be at their best if they are to achieve the success they have been tipped for in 2012.

"I think the last year with the 100 per cent qualification means we have had consistency in our game," he added. "That's the whole point of the new Germany and the way we play, especially in the last 10 qualification matches.

"Some players in my age group have more than 80 games and that is good experience. But we also have players who are 19, 20, 21 - that's an age to be in good shape and that's what we need next summer.

"We have had many chances in the last three big tournaments. We went to two semi-finals and one final and that's good for us but if you get that far it's better to get the title. I think that's the main point for the next tournament."

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