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Arsenal stopper Mertesacker: England motherland of football

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker feels England has always been the home of football.

German centre half Mertesacker loves the passion of the fans, atmosphere in the stadiums and admits that he is bracing himself for a whole new experience in the heat of tomorrow's north London derby.

"England scored more than just one goal!" laughed Mertesacker, recalling Frank Lampard's effort which would have levelled the scores had the linesman seen it cross the line.

"We were very lucky in many situations but it was a great feeling to beat England in a World Cup, in an African country and we saw nice places, especially Bloemfontein."

He also told the Mirror: "The supporters were very close to the pitch and there were many, many England supporters there. It was that day that I thought: 'playing in England must be the place for me to play.'

"England was always my favourite football land and if ever there was a chance to come to this country then it was always going to be to sign for this club.

"England is the motherland. Everyone in foreign countries speaks about English football. It's famous. All the best players come here."

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Tribal Football Staff

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