Interview

'England has the world’s toughest league'

“If I had to describe my first year in the Premier League in three words, they would be: exciting, educational and intense,” Shkodran Mustafi told Arsenal Player recently.

The defender has enjoyed a whirlwind 15 months in north London, breaking records as he’s gone, along with picking up FA Cup and Community Shield winner’s medals.

Mustafi went 22 games without defeat upon joining the club and recently scored in the north London derby to help us see off Tottenham 2-0.

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Mustafi opens the scoring against Tottenham

Having previously played in Spain and Italy, the Germany international has a lot of experience under his belt but feels English football is on another level.

“The Premier League is the toughest and most intense league in Europe, or in the world,” he explains. “I knew that before, but now that I’ve played a lot of games it is just something you can feel, your body feels really tired because you have a lot of games and you’re not used to it, which shows you that the league is really intense.

“I think because we have a lot of big players in the Premier League and because the type of game we play here is very quick, it’s not a defensive game or a tactical game where we just stand there and try and not make a mistake, it’s more of a game where we try and go to score goals.

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Watch the very best of Mustafi at Burnley

“That obviously gives you opportunities to score, but as well it gives the opponents opportunities as well because if you are attacking and lose the ball they can counter-attack and then if you win the ball you can go and attack again. It’s up and down, really intense and fast football.

“I think you grow. When I was younger and started playing in Italy and Spain, you always hear people saying that ‘it comes with experience’, but you think ‘What is that experience? Why is everybody saying it?’ Then when you play in the Premier League and you play alongside players who have won a lot of trophies or played a lot of games in the Premier League, they give you this kind of experience, so you see that you make less mistakes and that you react differently to different situations.”

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