Mertesacker finds his feet
Per Mertesacker says he is beginning to adapt to the Premier League, but will need the whole season to get fully up to speed.
Last Updated: 14/12/11 4:27pm
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker says he is beginning to adapt to Premier League football, but thinks he will need the whole season to get fully up to speed.
The towering centre-back admits he needed some time to settle in at the Emirates since making an £8 million move from Werder Bremen on the last day of the summer transfer window.
He has since made 11 league starts and is now getting used to the frantic pace of English football, although he says Arsenal fans may need to wait a while longer before they are able to see his true value.
"I am feeling good and I think that is the best thing. It was quite a short time for me to settle in and make the transfer happen - it was very close to the deadline so it was a tough month for me," the German told Arsenal Player.
"I think in England the best players in the world are here. They have a lot of strength, a lot of speed, it doesn't compare to the Bundesliga. The technical (ability) is similar, but the speed and the physical power is different.
"If you have no pre-season with the team then that makes it more difficult. People think it's easy to connect with your club, your team-mates, but it takes time.
"It's getting better and better and hopefully I can keep improving now. Let me play a season and you can get (the full picture) of my personality and my ability as a footballer."
Mertesacker has found himself partnering several different players at the centre of the Gunners' defence, which has been depleted by injuries to all four full-backs.
Andre Santos is set to be out for three months with ankle ligament damage, while Carl Jenkinson has joined fellow right-back Bacary Sagna on the sidelines.
Kieran Gibbs is close to a return from his stomach problem, and could be ready in time for the Boxing Day clash against Wolves.