Per Mertesacker can follow in the footsteps of fellow defender Laurent Koscielny, and successfully adapt to the demands of the English game, insists Arsene Wenger.
The 27-year-old German international has been forced to settle quickly into life in the Barclays Premier League following his summer switch from Werder Bremen - having already made 12 appearances for Arsenal this term.
Mertesacker has come into criticism for some of his recent performances, but Wenger is certain that it won't be long before he finds his feet in north London, and says the 6ft 6in stopper can take inspiration from his French counterpart Koscielny, who has made an impressive start to 2011-12.
"He had not completely recovered [from the internationals]," Wenger said in Mertesacker's defence. "It is a different game in England, a very demanding game for the defender.
"In every second of the game you are really tested with full commitment, and it takes some time to adapt."
Wenger revealed that like all foreign imports, there inevitably needs to be a settling in period, but once Mertesacker is given time to acclimatise to the rigours of the English top-flight, he is adamant he will be a success at the Emirates Stadium.
"We have seen that with [Laurent] Koscielny, who played at right-back and was exceptional," he added. "Last year he would not have delivered this kind of performance.
"You learn that from fighting in every game. That is why it is so difficult to buy defenders from abroad."
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