Ozil loving life in London
Published 10/10/2013 | 16:01
Mesut Ozil is convinced his move to England will help him to develop as a player and as a person.
The 24-year-old has been a huge hit in the Barclays Premier League since his £43million summer switch from Real Madrid to Arsenal, and his influence has helped the Gunners to make a flying start to the new campaign.
A growing number of Ozil's international team-mates are now plying their trade outside the Bundesliga, but he believes that can only be good for the German national side.
He said: "I think the Premier League is the strongest in the world because it is so balanced and even, and competition is fierce with a whole lot of clubs playing at the same level.
"It's also a great thing for me to get the know the British culture, the English culture, the language and develop further as a person.
"The thing is, most of us here in the national team play at the same level in terms of performance, but in different countries, and that's not a bad thing at all, on the contrary."
Ozil, who is in line to win his 50th senior international cap against the Republic of Ireland on Friday night, has quickly taken to his life in England, with a little help from compatriot Per Mertesacker in at least one respect.
He said: "Driving on the left-hand side, I thought it would be much more difficult than it really is. But Per Mertesacker gave me some 'driving lessons' and they helped me, so I can drive there.
"London is an interesting city to live in. I have grown to love the place in a short space of time.
"The guys in the Arsenal team and the coaching staff are fully behind me. They have given me great responsibility and that's what I feel great about."
Ozil, however, like any other new boy, had to go through the ordeal of singing in front of his team-mates, and he admits it is an experience he could have done without.
He said: "The singing bit, I didn't really want to do that because my voice just isn't up to it. I'm not an X-Factor contender by any stretch of the imagination."
Asked what he had sung, he replied: "The song was a Turkish song, to be honest. Of course, people didn't understand what I was singing."
Group C leaders Germany would book their passage to next summer's World Cup finals in Brazil if they were to beat Ireland in Cologne, although assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick has warned people not to expect a repeat of last October's 6-1 demolition job in Dublin.
He said: "If you look at the Irish matches so far, they have been extremely unlucky. They play a passionate game with a lot of enthusiasm and they have got nothing to lose.
"They can take it for granted they will not be going to the World Cup, but big sportsmen and athletes don't give away presents, so we will be called upon to play to our strengths and take the opponents as seriously as they deserve."