Arsenal’s record signing Mesut Ozil has admitted that he is loving life in England, and has shrugged off criticism from his former boss at Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti by saying he is happy under the command of Arsene Wenger.
Ozil joined the Gunners on transfer deadline day for £42.5m, smashing the club’s previous record spend by nearly triple the figure. The 24-year-old is currently on international duty with the rest of the German squad, which includes his Arsenal team-mate Per Mertesacker.
The defender has been helping Ozil settle in to life in London, and Ozil says that he has helped his international colleague in more ways than one.
"Driving on the left-hand side”, Ozil told reporters in Cologne. “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, who is set to win his 50th international cap if he plays tomorrow in the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland, was quick to praise manager Arsene Wenger for instilling him with the confidence he feels is necessary to perform at his best.
"I can only say that he (Wenger) is a great coach who knows exactly what he wants and has a clear vision. We need a coach like that if we want to be successful," Ozil said.
"I feel great in London, the coach gives me the trust, the team is fully behind me and I feel very, very well there.”
Reflecting on his time in the Spanish capital, Ozil defended his performances since he joined the club in 2010 after Ancelotti criticised him following his Real exit.
"I had three great years in Madrid and that is all I will say," Ozil said. “If you look at my statistics (in Madrid) and how many games I played there then you can see how professional I was.”
But his former team-mate Sami Khedira was one of many who spoke of their surprise at Ozil’s departure, but he acknowledges that he remains under contract with Real and he remains responsible for the Spanish club’s success – not Ozil.
"Losing a player like Mesut is damaging to any team," Khedira, who was sitting next to his German team mate,said.
"But I am an employee of Real and as such I am, like all the players, responsible for the success of the club. He seems happy now in London and that is what is the most important thing."
Although Ozil says he is loving life in London, he did admit that there was one part of it which he didn’t enjoy.
“The singing bit, I didn't really want to do that because my voice just isn't up to it,” Ozil said when talking about the initiation all new signings must go through at the Emirates. “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."