Arsenal’s vice-captain Per Mertesacker has backed out of favour teammate Lukas Podolski to play a part in the Gunners season despite his lack of regular game time.
Podolski has featured just once from the start this campaign, the Capital One Cup loss to Southampton, with Arsene Wenger opting to use the World Cup winner mainly from the bench.
The 29-year-old has proved his worth however with some promising cameo appearances including the 2-1 late win over Anderlecht in which he scored the vital winner.
Mertesacker understands his compatriot’s frustrations over his situation but feels it’s the form of others that are keeping him out rather than a lack of effort on Podolski’s part.
Mertesacker told ESPN:
I think anyone who doesn’t get enough time on the field would be dissatisfied.
Lukas Podolski is a player who is used to playing a lot, so this is a new role for him. But he’s there in the training sessions, giving as much as he can, including today [Wednesday].
I’m sure that we’ll need him, we simply have a big squad, which means that someone is always going to have to sit on the bench. He still has a good attitude and offers his opinion where he can.
You have to feel for Podolski at times, and Tomas Rosicky too. There is a lot of depth in the squad now especially in forward areas. They hardy covered themselves in glory in the League Cup loss, but they’re both severely lacking match practice.
Podolski faces a difficult situation this January. While he is happy in London, the forward is receiving pressure from Joachim Löw to play regularly or lose his place in the German national team. It would be a shame to lose him but equally understandable if he departs.
He’s too much of a liability to play from the outset due to the lack of defensive cover he provides his fullback but is easily our best finisher. If Podolski’s happy to be a super sub then keep him around.
Do you agree Gooners?