German defender said he was too big to fit in a tank!
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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed he managed to avoid military service as a teenager by claiming there was no way he could fit into a tank.
Conscription was compulsory in Germany until 2010, but Mertesacker said he had no interest in getting involved with weapons or the military and so had to come up with an excuse.
“I missed military service in Germany. I wrote to them and said I did not want to get in touch with weapons, and also that I could not fit into a tank or a submarine – and it worked,” he said, reports Daily Mirror.
“Instead I did civilian service, I worked in a clinic for patients with mental illness. I would train with my club in the morning and go there in the afternoons. It was like a hospital, where no one recognises you and they might shout or scream at you. But I was never scared,” he said.
The 6ft 6in German has recently opened the Per Mertesacker Foundation, a charity which aims to help children of disadvantaged backgrounds make a better start in life, and the Arsenal man equates his fondness for helping others with his time completing civilian service.
“It was very memorable to go from one world to the other. It kept me grounded and humble, coming from this glamorous football world, and would help me to grow as a person. It had a big impact on my life,” he said.
The 30 year old will now attempt to help the Gunners acquire top spot in their Champions League group when they play Galatasaray on Tuesday night.