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16th Apr 2017

Mesut Ozil reveals how much muscle he has gained to adjust to the Premier League

"Enough to survive the physical batterings but not so much that I’m too brawny to run"

Robert Redmond

Mesut Ozil has offered an insight into how he adjusted to life in England.

Ozil joined Arsenal from Real Madrid in 2013 for £42.5m, and remains the club’s record signing.

The German is blessed with incredible technique and vision, and is one of the Premier League’s most talented players.

However, there are still many who doubt Ozil’s work rate and ability to deliver in big games.

Like Alexis Sanchez, Ozil’s future at the Emirates is in doubt, with both players’ contracts due to expire next year.

But if Arsenal fans had to pick between the two, most would probably rather Sanchez remained at the club.

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Yet there’s no denying Ozil’s ability. He might not be an extrovert, chest-thumping midfield warrior, but he can do things with a football that’s beyond the vast majority of players.

Of course, Arsenal fans would like him to be more consistent, but that applies to almost every player in Arsene Wenger’s squad.

Ozil rarely seems to get the benefit of the doubt by some elements of the media and pundits either.

He joined Arsenal from Madrid at the end of the 2013 transfer window, and had to adjust to a new league and country without a pre-season or a chance to settle in.

The 28-year-old has revealed how difficult he found it at first to cope with the physical demands of the Premier League, calling it “the toughest challenge” he has faced in his career.

“In England, you fail to notice how hard it is during the game itself and how many attacks the body sustains,” Ozil writes in his new autobiography, which has been serialised in the Daily Mail.

“You’re so full of adrenalin that you don’t feel the pain. But then, under the shower, you discover the ‘misery’. After some matches my shins have looked as if someone has gone at them with a hammer, covered in blue marks.”

Ozil also writes that opponents often left him with scratches and bruises, and revealed how much muscle he put on to help him cope in England’s top flight.

“At Arsenal, I’ve grown tougher,” the German writes.

“I’ve learned to take so much more. I’ve toned a few more muscles than during my time at Real Madrid so I’m in a better position to meet the physical challenges.

“But it’s a very fine line. I wouldn’t gain anything from spending hours on the bench, wildly pumping iron. If I were too muscular I’d be less nimble and sprightly.

“I reckon I’ve put on about a kilo and a half of muscle mass. Enough to survive the physical batterings but not so much that I’m too brawny to run.”