Early Doors

Arsenal’s German stars give a frank assessment of London

British cuisine may be “different” and they’re yet to see a game of cricket, but three of Arsenal’s German players are relishing life in London and the UK.

Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and new signing Mesut Özil enjoyed some down time hundreds of feet high in the air, courtesy of the Emirates Air Line, London’s first urban cable car which spans the River Thames from Greenwich in the South to the Royal Docks in the North.

During the journey, which takes about 20 minutes for a round-trip, Özil reflected on life in the big city as the new boy in town.

“They’ve helped me,” he said of his team-mates. “It’s good to have people I know here."

And in yet another signal that he’s here for the long-haul, he revealed that he has already found a house.

“I have settled in really well," he added. "I have a house in London and I am enjoying living here."

Taking selfies in the cabin in front of the dramatic backdrop of the City, the players talked about their other sporting interests.

“I’ve watched tennis at the O2 and the NBA also comes here. It’s really exciting to live here and enjoy the life” said Mertesacker before conceding that they have not yet made it to Lords to watch one of England’s oldest games.

“We haven’t been to a cricket match so far, so that’s one of our targets for next year."

Any further differences? “Your food,” quipped Mertesacker - before diplomatically not revealing anything further.

Asked about favourite places in London, Podolski said: “You have a lot in London, so I don’t have one favourite."

But looking at the views from the cabin of the Thames winding its way past Canary Wharf and the City, the Houses of Parliament, the Shard, the London Eye and beyond, Mertesacker decided that the Emirates Air Line was the place to beat.