By Rob Kelly
Arsène Wenger is confident Lukas Podolski will soon hit top form - but says even the very best players take time to adapt to English football.
The Germany international has made a solid start to his Arsenal career, scoring four goals in 14 appearances in all competitions.
Wenger has been pleased with Podolski’s contribution, but believes the best is yet to come from the 27-year-old.
“He started well and works very hard,” the manager said. “In recent games he has been a bit less fresh. He's not used to working at that level of intensity.
“When you come to England it's a shock. When Robert Pires [first] arrived, his first game was against Sunderland and I put him on the bench. I said, ‘Today you will sit next to me'.
“At the time they had Peter Reid and after 20 minutes [in which] they kicked us, he said to me, 'Is it always like this?'
“In England everyone works their socks off. There is no room for anybody to work less or you don't exist.
“For example the game against Man United, where we were not very good. But the intensity of the game physically was absolutely unbelievable.”
- Wenger was speaking at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the Club opened a Lung Function Unit - a legacy from Arsenal’s partnership with GOSH during the 2009/10 season