Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has backed his fellow German Mesut Ozil to become even more important to the Gunners next season after acclimatising to the demands of the Premier League.
Ozil made a bright start to life in England and has four Premier League goals and eight assists, but a drop in form was questioned by manager Arsene Wenger in February, and he has been rested after missing out on the winter break which occurs in Germany and Spain.
The former Werder Bremen and Real Madrid midfielder returned to the Arsenal line-up for the 3-0 win against Hull on Sunday and Mertesacker is backing him to improve in his second full season in England.
“It’s very important to understand the differences between the leagues,” Mertesacker told Arsenal’s official website.
“Mesut came from La Liga and it’s quite difficult to play there. I think he has adapted well but there is more to come from him. I think the second season will be much better for him because he’s a fantastic player.
“He has shown some great skills but he needs to be more consistent, which makes a difference at the end. Sometimes it’s good to get criticism with the negative points. If you realise quick what it means, if you are intelligent enough, and he is an intelligent footballer. I think he will sort that problem out.
“It’s similar to myself when I got my injury in the second part of my [first] season, and after I came back even stronger because then I realised what is at stake.
“I think for Mesut it was good to get a little rest to be ready for the last few games for us, then the World Cup and then another season. I think with a pre-season ahead of him, there’s more to come from him.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby successfully came through 45 minutes of an under-21 game on Tuesday, as he makes his latest attempt to recover from persistent injury problems that have halted his progress in recent seasons.