Shkodran Mustafi was a practically unknown defender for Sampdoria when he was inexpicably picked by Joachim Low to play his first game for the German senior national side in May 2014, so it was even more shocking when he was picked for the provisional World Cup squad just a couple of months later.
Mustafi didn’t make the final 23-man squad, but got a last minute reprieve when Marco Reus had to pull out of the squad through injury, and then the new Arsenal star went on to pick up a World Cup winners medal!
Shkodran obviously felt indebted to Reus, and held up Marco’s shirt during the winning celebrations. This is how Mustafi described it. “I played a game just before the World Cup,” Mustafi told the official Arsenal website. “I was in the last 27 but I didn’t make the last 23. But then Marco got injured and I got a call to join the team again, so I went to Brazil.
“When you think that you didn’t make the 23 players the first time, you think, ‘OK, I go there now, but my chances of playing aren’t going to be that big’. But straight away in the first game, you have to go out on to the pitch and in the second game you play again. Then you play again and again, and end up winning the World Cup.
“When people said to me that Marco was injured and now it was my turn, it always sounded a bit like they had forgotten about Marco because I was in the final 23 players.
“What I didn’t want was to forget him. I think he deserved to be there as well. He’s a fantastic player and that’s why I didn’t want to forget him.”
This incident shows that Mustafi is not only a great player, but he also has a friendly personality and is loyal to his team-mates. A great signing by Arsene Wenger, it has to be said….