Mertesacker slammed for 'disrespecting' Arsenal

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The Gunners captain recently revealed he has suffered with anxiety throughout his career and that sometimes he would prefer not to play

Dietmar Hamann has hit out at Per Mertesacker for being "disrespectful" to Arsenal after the defender's claims that he currently prefers watching games to playing in them.

The centre-back will retire at the end of the season, at which time he is set to take a position as the head of Arsenal’s academy.

In a recent interview with Spiegel, the 33-year-old detailed the crippling anxiety that he has felt throughout his career. 

Mertesacker has admitted that he will "be free for the first time in my life" when he retires, saying he'd prefer not to play down the stretch in 2017-18

"Everyone says I should really savour the last year, play as much as possible, really soak everything in," Mertesacker said. "I'd most like to sit on the bench, or, even better, in the stands."

That stance bothered former Liverpool star Hamann, who questioned his countryman on Sky in Germany

"He makes another statement that is questionable for me," Hamann said. 

"He is still under contract with Arsenal and says that he has no more buck and likes to sit in the stands. He is still paid by the club and has a responsibility.

"I find that disrespectful to the fans, his team-mates and the coach. The club is up to its neck at the moment and then you have one of the captains who sits down and says that he no longer wants to play for the club.

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"Whether he is the right person to give young players values ​​such as identity and loyalty next year, I have my doubts."

Hamann did, however, appreciate Mertesacker's honesty and openness about his situation. 

"Everyone perceives the pressure differently. It's good that we realise that the pros are not machines," Hamann added.