Mesut Ozil has accepted that some of the criticism thrown his way during his first season at Arsenal was justified in a refreshing interview before the start of the new season.
Ozil joined for £42 million on a deadline-day deal last summer, and after some impressive performances early on, the playmaker went off the boil.
The German international also missed time during the run-in with injury, although rebounded to be part of the FA Cup-winning side and then a key member of Germany's World Cup squad.
Speaking to Bild (German, quotes via Metro), Ozil said:
There is room for improvement in all departments.
I need to have more shots at goal again, and also improve my headers. The World Cup title was a great success, but it has to go on now.
I am looking forward to my second season in England, because I can also bring in my experience from my first season.
I feel great in England, and even more so in London and especially at Arsenal. When things don’t run that smooth at times, there is criticism.
Sometimes it’s fair, and sometimes it’s unfair. But I can judge my performances very well—and I also know how the coach [Arsene Wenger] and the fans rate it.
Ozil, 25, also said the team as a whole is better-placed to compete in the Premier League this season—injuries permitting.
There at least five teams competing for the title in the Premier League. But to me personally it’s clear: I want to have maximum success in every competition I play.
I’ve only been back with the team since Monday. But I believe that we have made good reinforcements. And I hope that those injury woes from last season do not continue.
That result came despite Ozil and fellow Germans Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker not yet being ready to feature after their summer break.
For Ozil to accept failings and admit he's working on them is a good, frank assessment. But at the same time, criticism from the last campaign was at times overblown, given that he contributed plenty to Arsenal during the campaign.
And if he has fully acclimatised to English football this year, he could easily be in the mix to be the Player of the Season.