Arsenal boss admits Premier League was “a shock” to Arsenal star

15:13 20 November 2012

Per Mertesacker. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Per Mertesacker. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Arsene Wenger has praised Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker for his performances this season but admits he struggled to adapt to the Premier League after his arrival last summer.

The Germany international was signed from Werder Bremen on deadline day last year, and had a hard time with form and injuries in his first season in England.

This season, however, Mertesacker has held down his place in the side with some impressive performances at the heart of the Gunners’ defence.

Wenger admits the 28-year-old had a difficult first season but insists the criticism levelled at him “went overboard”.

“To his defence I must say last year he arrived on August 31, and had no pre-season, had an ankle injury and had to adapt to a completely new world,” said the Arsenal manager.

“Centre back is difficult for people who come from abroad, it was a bit of a shock for him, but this season he has come back very fit, well prepared, and of course knew what the expectations were for him and did extremely well.

“This season especially, as you [the media] have noticed, he has been outstanding.

He continued: “The criticism was always completely unjust. It was overboard, we always say you have to deal with that.

“There is only one thing you can do as a football player at the top level, and that is to turn the critics down with your performances, and that is what he did.

“For the rest, you have to let people say what they want and show on the pitch they are wrong, that is all you can do.”

Related articles

Live Blog Transfer Window Live July 25

 

Latest Stories

8 minutes ago
The Met has been accused of spying on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Police spied on the family of Jean Charles de Menezes after the Brazilian was shot dead by officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber in July 2005, it has been claimed.

Read more
The attack took place in Allnutt Way in south London yesterday evening (Picture: Google StreetView)

A man entered a house in Clapham and stabbed a woman multiple times before climbing into his van and driving off, say police.

Read more
I'm not sure what he's going for here but I don't think it's worked (Picture via Gumtree)

In just a pair of shorts lying draped across his beloved Casio keyboard, this south London Gumtree seller is taking an unorthodox approach to shifting his instrument.

Read more