Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil feels he's now fully adapted to life in the Premier League and credits the faith that Arsene Wenger has shown for his improved level of performances since returning from a lengthy injury lay-off at the start of the year.
The £42.5 million club-record signing was sidelined for around three months at the beginning of the 2014/15 campaign, and although he admits it was very frustrating watching on from the treatment room he's now a stronger player and person for the experience.
Ozil claims he settled in north London as soon as he arrived from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, praising the warm welcome he received and the strong team spirit in the Gunners squad that helped him to make a seamless transition from La Liga to England's top-flight.
"I always felt comfortable here," he was quoted saying by the club's official website from an interview with the Arsenal Magazine. "Yes, there were times when it was really difficult for me, but now everything is going very well.
"The team are successful and I feel so at home here because of the way in which I was received by the whole team. The boss gives me a lot of help too because he gives me his trust, and that helps me to feel happy at Arsenal as well."
The Germany international has been one of Arsenal's standout performers during the second half of the season, but it's not always been that way as the 26-year-old has suffered his fair share of issues affecting his fitness and form.
However, he remains a hugely popular first-team figure amongst his team-mates and fans at the Emirates Stadium, having successfully overcome the challenges that playing in the physically demanding Premier League presents.
"When you come to England and watch the games, you can feel how tough it is," he explained. "In other leagues, you have some games that are really difficult and others that aren't.
"Here, the season is very long and with many games. You have to play in midweek too and without a winter break. As a player, that's something you have to get used to.
"My aim was always to come back stronger and, thanks to God, everything worked out," - Mesut Ozil
"In my first season, not having a winter break meant that I could notice my body becoming a bit tired. I had the World Cup after my first season here. It was such a great time but when I came back, the fitness coach said that even though I felt fit, the freshness was missing.
"I continued to give everything to help the team and that's how I got my injury. That was a really bitter time because I missed football but it's an experience you have to go through as a player. My aim was always to come back stronger and, thanks to God, everything worked out."
With a summer of rest and recuperation to look forward to, Ozil will be aiming to come back fit and firing on all cylinders when the Arsenal players return for pre-season, which bodes well for supporters hoping the club can mount a genuine title challenge in 2015/16.
Along with Alexis Sanchez, the former Werder Bremen playmaker will be integral to any hopes the Gunners might have of securing top domestic and European honours, so it's important he hits the ground running next term.
However, first there is the small task of this weekend's FA Cup final clash against Aston Villa at Wembley where Wenger's men will be looking to retain the trophy they won last year.
Victory on Saturday will represent a solid foundation for Arsenal to build on next season, and give the players confidence they are capable of rivalling newly crowned champions Chelsea for top spot in the future.
Arsenal fans: How do you see this weekend's FA Cup final playing out? Do you think the Gunners can challenge for the Premier League title next season? Have your say below…
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