German centre-back says his compatriot needed time to adjust to life in England.
Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has tipped teammate Mesut Ozil to perform much better in his second season in the Premier League.
Ozil arrived at the Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid for a club-record transfer fee of £44m in September.
The 25-year-old made a flying start to life in England, netting three goals in his first seven games for the Gunners.
However, a dip in form, coupled with a hamstring injury that has seen him miss seven of Arsenal’s last eight games, has led some to question whether his arrival was good business.
Mertesacker does not have any such doubts and is convinced that his fellow German international will hit top form next term.
“It’s very important to understand the differences between the leagues,” Mertesacker told Arsenal’s official website.” Mesut came from La Liga and it’s quite difficult to play there. I think he has adapted well but there is more to come from him. I think the second season will be much better for him because he’s a fantastic player.
“He has shown some great skills but he needs to be more consistent, which makes a difference at the end. Sometimes it’s good to get criticism with the negative points… if you are intelligent enough, and he is an intelligent footballer. I think he will sort that problem out.
“It’s similar to myself when I got my injury in the second part of my [first] season, and after I came back even stronger because then I realised what is at stake.
“I think for Mesut it was good to get a little rest to be ready for the last few games for us, then the World Cup and then another season. I think with a pre-season ahead of him, there’s more to come from him.”
Ozil and Mertesacker, who have won 53 and 96 senior international caps respectively, are both widely expected to be included in Germany’s 23-man squad for Brazil 2014.