Mesut Ozil reflects on the difficulties he faced after arriving in England
Mesut Ozil has divided opinion ever since arriving at Arsenal with much fanfare from Real Madrid. During his first season at Arsenal, the German midfielder was criticised for his lack of work ethic among other things. Ozil is a player who is lauded for his unquestionable talent on the one hand and blamed for going missing in big matches on the other.
But the midfielder has enjoyed a good second season at Arsenal since coming back from a knee injury which sidelined him for three months.The German World Cup winner is also one of the contenders to become Arsenal’s Player of the Season after helping the Gunners finish third in the League.
The 26-year-old feels that he has now adapted to the football and life in England. ““I always felt comfortable here,” Ozil said in an exclusive interview with the Arsenal Magazine. “Yes, there were times when it was really difficult for me, but now everything is going very well.”
“The team are successful and I feel so at home here because of the way in which I was received by the whole team. The boss gives me a lot of help too because he gives me his trust, and that helps me to feel happy at Arsenal as well.”
The German playmaker confessed that it was not easy in the beginning to adapt to the rigours of English football. He goes on to add that he is now fully settled and is used to the demands of the Premier League.
No winter break
“When you come to England and watch the games, you can feel how tough it is. In other leagues, you have some games that are really difficult and others that aren’t. Here, the season is very long and with many games. You have to play in midweek too and without a winter break.”
Ozil says that lack of a winter break took a toll on his body and it was something he needed to get used to.
“As a player, that’s something you have to get used to. In my first season, not having a winter break meant that I could notice my body becoming a bit tired. I had the World Cup after my first season here. It was such a great time but when I came back, the fitness coach said that even though I felt fit, the freshness was missing.”
The former Real Madrid midfielder also said that being sidelined for three months was one of the hardest things for him.
“I continued to give everything to help the team and that’s how I got my injury. That was a really bitter time because I missed football but it’s an experience you have to go through as a player. My aim was always to come back stronger and, thanks to God, everything worked out.” The season is not yet finished for the German as he will look to play a part in Arsenal’s FA Cup final against Aston Villa on May 30.