Laurent Koscielny has admitted he had trouble adapting to the physical nature of the Barclays Premier League with Arsenal, but insists he has bulked up and is now ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
The former Lorient defender flattered to deceive in the Barclays Premier League after making the switch from the Lige 1 side to the Emirates last summer, but appears to have found his feet at the heart of the Gunners defence of late, helping them to shore up their back line after their horrendous start to the new season.
The 26-year-old was partly responsible for the mistake which cost Arsene Wenger’s side the Carling Cup in the final against Birmingham last year, a defeat which is widely accredited with signaling the start of a dramatic collapse that saw the Gunners miss out on a trophy for the sixth consecutive season and brought Wenger’s job under scrutiny.
Koscielny, who described the top tier of English football as the “best league” in the word, puts his shaky start to his career in an Arsenal shirt down to the physical nature of the English league, but says he is now fully prepared for the challenges that await.
“I think for a defender it is the best championship,” he told Arsenal Player. “I have had a bit of time now to be strong and get to know this league.
“Now I feel good on and off the pitch and I try to put the effort into being a good defender.
“You don't have to play differently here, you just have to work on the physical side. It's very different to France or Spain and the strikers are very strong. I've worked a lot to do that.”
The French International has had to adapt to another aspect of the Barclays Premier League in recent weeks after being asked by Wenger to fill in at full-back behind Theo Walcott because of injuries to Bacary Sagna and Carl Jenkinson for the Gunners.
“I try to do the defensive work,” he commented. “It is a little difficult to help Theo though because he is too quick! I try to give the best I can, and that's it. I can get forward once or twice a game.“
“I try to do the job seriously but I hope Bacary or Carl come back quickly.”