Mertesacker: No winter break hurts England

Arsenal and Germany defender Per Mertesacker believes England’s woes at international tournaments are a result of the lack of a winter break.

Speaking exclusively in the June 2012 issue of FourFourTwo, the 27-year-old defender suggested that the Three Lions might struggle in Poland and Ukraine due to the lack of rest afforded to their players after a long season with their respective club sides.

"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."

Mertesacker has recovered from a serious ankle ligament injury to make Germany’s squad for the competition, and he is optimistic about their chances.

"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."

The defender also shrugged off any concerns that he might not be at peak fitness when Germany begin their campaign against Portugal on June 9.

"[Coach] 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."

Read the full interview with Per Mertesacker in the June 2012 issue of FourFourTwo, which includes a 68-page supplement previewing Euro 2012.

However, be quick. It's only in shops today before the July issue hits the shelves on Saturday June 2.

By Ben Rasmin