Arsenal record signing Mesut Ozil has claimed that the injury he sustained earlier this season actually played in his favour as it allowed him to work on his strength to adapt to the Premier League pace.
The Germany international moved to North London in summer 2013 for around £42.5m ($63.4m) after garnering a reputation as one of the best playmakers around the world during his time at the Santiago Bernabeu.
However the playmaker failed to replicate his Real Madrid form during his debut campaign in the Premier League.
And a partial ligament tear suffered earlier in the season following the defeat at Chelsea in October looked like it was going to complicate his adaptation to English football even further.
But Ozil has claimed that it has been far from a setback.
"I was exhausted at the start of the season," he admitted to Sport Magazine. "I started playing professional football at the age of 16 and had never really suffered many serious injuries. I guess 10 years of consistently playing football took its toll. I was also struggling with the physicality of this league.
"The injury worked in my favour in a way, as it gave me time to recover, to assess and to work on what was required to compete in this league. The football here is far more physical, it is played at a faster tempo and you have to adapt to the sheer number of games.
"I have had to work a lot harder and adjust my game accordingly. I used my time out with injury to work on my strength. I'm continuing to do extra sessions after training now."
The 26-year-old offensive midfielder has indeed played an important role in the Gunners' recent good run, scoring three goals and providing five assists since his return to action.
"At the moment I am pleased with the consistency of my game. I feel I am now playing my best football since joining Arsenal."
Meanwhile, the former Real Madrid star has also sent a message to the critics who have accused him of having a lazy attitude since his arrival at North London: "If you look at my statistics, I am one of the players who covers the most distance.
"Also, if you look at the stats in terms of assists and creating chances, they are all pretty good. I know some people might want me to make X-number of passes – but people often miss what goes on off the ball," he said.
"I'm not really bothered what critics say. What's important is what the manager and coaching staff think. I am a team player, I just care about always giving 100% for the team."