Mesut Ozil missed three months in the first half of the season due to knee ligament damage but the stats show he’s actually improved since his return.

Back in March, the German playmaker spoke about his training while he was sidelined. He wanted to come back stronger, fitter and healthier, so to do this, he focussed on training his upper body while his knee healed, and his nutrition.

His hard work off the pitch while rehabilitating his knee and his hard work on it since his return have resulted in his overall game play actually getting even better than before and now there’s data to back it up – as if we didn’t already know.

Statistics published by the Premier League today show the 26-year-old is now performing at a far higher level than his was pre-injury.

The amount of chances he creates per game has increased, on average, from 2.33 before the new year to 3.4. His assist rate has gone from 0.17 to 0.34 per game and his goals have increased from 0.17 to 0.26. What’s also very telling is the amount of sprints he makes per game has shot up from 49.17 to 57.93 and the distances he’s running has gone from 10.39km to 11.02km.

An extra kilometre per match is a huge improvement to make in a matter of months.

It shows that focus and hard work really do pay off and it shows.