The German centre-back made a late move to the club from Werder Bremen, joining a team that had gone through many changes of personnel over the summer.
Initially criticised for being off the pace and struggling with the English game, Mertesacker has been the team’s best defender this season, and he admits he feels more confident and on-form now.
“I think my first year was quite tough. You need to be patient here to settle down completely.
“This year I feel much more comfortable in my game and all around in the dressing room, with the language. That makes you feel more welcome, more recognised and it’s a better feeling.
“Everybody wants to take responsibility and wants to play. We have a very strong s...