Former Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker has lifted the lid on Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott’s old battle to be crowned the club’s speed king.
Walcott’s on-pitch speed was as rapid as his emergence onto the football scene as a teenager, while Googling ‘Hector Bellerin speed’ returns a ‘People Also Ask’ suggestion of ‘Is Hector Bellerin faster than (Usain) Bolt?’.
These pair are famously quick and were apparently locked in a race for speed supremacy during their time together in North London.
Speaking to The Athletic, Mertesacker revealed: “Hector and Theo Walcott were locked in a constant battle for clocking up the fastest sprint numbers at Arsenal.
“Hector and Theo could not take being second-best. It was a big rivalry — a bit like (sprinters) Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson in the 1980s.”
Walcott has since swapped the Emirates for Everton but if their rivalry is as intense as it sounds, the English winger will not be best pleased by Mertesacker revelations of who he believed was faster.
He added: “If one of them finished ahead by second or so, the other one would insist on trying again to do a faster time. Hector was just that little bit faster.”
At one stage, the focus on Walcott and Bellerin’s pace over 40m drew so much attention that then European 60m indoor champion Richard Kilty challenged the pair to a £30,000 race, as reported by The Telegraph.
Perceived as painfully slow by some during his Premier League spell, Mertesacker was quick to add: “I always did better at those running tests than people expected, over the first ten metres at least.
“I only needed three long steps to get there. Over 30 metres, it was more difficult for me.”
Source : 90min
Original article: http://www.arsenal-world.co.uk/news/tmnw/per_mertesacker_reveals_extent_of_sprint_rivalry_between_hector_bellerin_theo_wa_938862/index.shtml