Mertesacker slams English schedule

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Arsenal and Germany defender Per Mertesacker believes the lack of a winter break is to blame for England's consistently poor performances in major international tournaments.

Speaking exclusively to FourFourTwo in their June 2012 edition, the 27-year-old defender has indicated that Roy Hodgson's men will once again struggle at this summer's European Championships as a result of not having a winter break.

Mertesacker cites a distinct lack of rest for the players selected to represent their country in Ukraine and Poland as the main reason why England will fail to produce the goods on the international stage.

Having just completed a long, and at times arduous season with their respective clubs, the likes of Joe Hart, John Terry, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney have now been called-up to the England squad with minimal rest.

And Mertesacker firmly believes that the decision not to impose a winter break on top-flight games in English football is of detriment to the national side's success.

"As regards to their potential, the English must always be rated highly. But there is a lot of strain on the players all year through because of the lack of a winter break," he says.

"Under these circumstances, they will always need perfect regeneration and then excellent preparation in order to stay in a tournament to the end."

On the contrary, Mertesacker is full of optimism about the German's chances of achieving success in this year's championships, and has declared himself fit and raring to go after recovering from a serious ankle ligament injury that put his place in Joachim Low's Euro 2012 squad in jeopardy.

"In all the years I've been with the national team, I have rarely seen such a strong Germany team. That's why there's a lot of happy anticipation."

Off the back of that long-term injury, Mertesacker has shrugged off any concerns about his fitness, with the colossal defender insisting that he will be ready if called upon, with Germany set to begin their Euro campaign against Portugal on June 9th.

"Joachim Low has known me for many years and he has seen me at many tournaments, so he knows what he can expect from me and knows he can count on me. That gives me a positive feeling."

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Per Mertesacker

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