Per Mertesacker is convinced he made the right move by joining Arsenal last summer, and says that the ankle he injured in February is now perfect ahead of Euro 2012.
Speaking to DFB.de the big German spoke about his first season at the club and said while it’s been challenging, it’s been a fantastic experience.
“I am very happy that I made the step into the Premier League,” he said. “The tempo is very high, the players are very strong. If you want to survive there, you have to always play at a high level. For me it was not easy at the beginning, but I improved. Unfortunately, I hurt myself when it was just getting really good. Still, I see my first season as positive and look forward to hopefully a great many years there.”
Although the virtues of the Vermscielny partnership are many, Arseblog News doesn’t think it’s unfair to suggest that adding a little Mert to the mix might have seen our defensive record improve, especially in the final few games of the season. His experience and reading of the game means he’s unlikely to be caught out up field the way the Belgian has been. Sure, that could be because he doesn’t go upfield much, but still.
As for settling into life in England, Mertesacker says learning and using the language has been important but he’s still got much to learn.
“After a year, I’m still missing a little something,” he said. “I try to speak as much English as possible. I declined from the start to have an interpreter and conducted all the interviews in English. I wanted to be forced to have to answer in English.
“The comprehension was relatively fast, the speech was a bit harder. And I think it will take two or three years, until it is really perfect. But a move abroad brings with it many challenges for us as a family and for me personally.”
Having suffered a serious ankle ligament injury at the Stadium of Light in February, his participation in the Euros was in doubt, but having undergone a training regime at Arsenal and in Germany, he says he’s feeling no ill effects at all and his fitness is good.
“For me it’s good. I feel absolutely nothing and can strain the feet fully. I can go up to the limit. Also in tackles I have no inhibitions. This was the case even in the last week in training with Arsenal. When I go into a tackle, I don’t think about the ankle at all.”
Thank to SiuFay and Ibrahim for the heads up