Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil claims he started the 2014/15 campaign completely exhausted after his World Cup winning exploits with Germany in Brazil last summer, but believes he is now playing the best football of his Gunners career.
The 26-year-old has been in impressive form for Arsene Wenger's side in recent weeks, and has played a key role in their run of eight consecutive victories in the Premier League which has moved Arsenal up to second place in the table.
"At the moment I am pleased with the consistency of my game," Ozil was quoted by The Independent from an interview with Sport Magazine. "I feel I am now playing my best football since joining Arsenal.
"I was exhausted at the start of the season. I started playing professional football at the age of 16 and had never really suffered many serious injuries.
"I guess 10 years of consistently playing football took its toll. I was also struggling with the physicality of this league."
Since joining the Gunners from Real Madrid in a club-record £43 million deal in 2013, Ozil has suffered a number of fitness problems that have hampered his progress in England's top-flight.
However, after returning from a knee ligament injury at the end of January he's rediscovered a rich vein of form that has made him even more determined to finish the current campaign on a high, and isn't ruling out the possibility of closing the gap on Chelsea in the race for the domestic title.
"The injury worked in my favour in a way, as it gave me time to recover, to assess and to work on what was required to compete in this league," he added.
"The football here is far more physical, it is played at a faster tempo and you have to adapt to the sheer number of games.
"I have had to work a lot harder and adjust my game accordingly. I used my time out with injury to work on my strength. I'm continuing to do extra sessions after training now."
Ozil's awareness and all-round intelligence on the pitch has ensured he is able to make up for his physical deficiencies, and the fact he is one of the most naturally gifted footballers in the world means he is often still a nightmare for opposition defences.
Blessed with a great first touch and mesmerising close control, the German's nimble footwork often gets supporters off their seats, but he's aware of the need to continue fine-tuning his fitness and attempt to get in even better shape in order to take his game to the next level.
The former Werder Bremen star was not at his best during last weekend's 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor, but will be hoping to make the difference when Arsenal take on relegation strugglers Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow.
Arsenal fans: Do you think Mesut Ozil is too lightweight to become a huge success in the Premier League? Or has he already proven himself as an elite level player in England? Have your say below...
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