Per Mertesacker avoided German military service for being too tall to fit into tank | inside World Soccer

Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has revealed he avoided German military service as a teenager by claiming that he was too big to fit into a tank or submarine.

The towering centre back, who stands at 6ft 6in, may be a tough nut on the pitch but he never had any desire to deal with weapons.

After a successful request, the 30-year-old instead ended up working with patients with mental illness in a clinic.

"I missed military service in Germany," the former Germany international told The Mirror.

"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.

"Instead I did civilian service, I worked in a clinic for patients with mental illness."

Military conscription was compulsory for all German males until 2010 which meant that he had to divide his time between training with his club and working with patients.

Mertesacker added: "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.

"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."


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