Monday 20 November 2017

Ian Wright: Mesut Ozil must commit future to Arsenal before condemning doubters

Ian Wright, pictured, has hit back at Mesut Ozil
Ian Wright, pictured, has hit back at Mesut Ozil

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright has described Mesut Ozil's social media post addressing criticism from ex-players as "laughable" and questioned why the German has not signed a new contract with the club.

Attacking midfielder Ozil, who is in the final year of his deal at the Emirates Stadium, took to Facebook on Saturday to hit back at negative comments about his recent performances from ex-Gunners players.

Wright has previously defended Ozil but believes the 28-year-old must commit his future to the north London club before condemning his doubters.

"Sign a contract, if you feel that strongly about people criticising the team because you're somebody who is integral to Arsenal's success," Wright said on BBC Radio 5 live.

"You're not signing a deal and you're probably going to continue to hide behind the fact that (Alexis) Sanchez is the one that everybody's going to say, 'Is he going to go?'.

"Why haven't you signed yet? That's what I would say to you. If you feel that strongly, why haven't you signed yet?

"A player that is not actually performing on the pitch is coming out, calling people out and he's not signing a contract. It's laughable."

Ozil's lengthy Facebook message called for former Arsenal players now working in the media to support the club rather than offer negative assessments.

Emmanuel Petit, Martin Keown and Paul Merson are among those to have singled out Ozil for his contribution.

Wright, the second highest goalscorer in the club's history, believes it is hard to be positive about Arsenal's poor start to the season, which included last weekend's 4-0 thrashing by Liverpool.

"We (former players) all feel the same because we're all passionate and we all love the club," Wright added.

"What are we supposed to say? That they're unbelievable, in the boardroom, the boss, and the way they're playing? Because they're not. I can't understand it.

"We're not talking about former players criticising a team that's charging up the league and winning leagues.

"Yes, we've won the FA Cup and when they've done that, they've rightfully been praised for that. But we're talking about a team that's under-performing. Not just the team, people in the boardroom, the manager with his decisions, everybody."

Petit reckons Arsenal's players need to be told to stop acting "like babies", and says they need a major wake-up call if the Gunners are to achieve success this season.

The World Cup winner, who helped Arsenal to the double in 1998, told the Sunday Mirror: "When I see them play they seem to play ­without motivation. The blame is put on Arsene, but I cannot see that it is all down to him. Why should it be?

"Why should a player need motivating to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, in one of the best stadiums in the world? Some of them do not seem to know what it means to wear that Arsenal shirt.

"They get good money to play for a club like Arsenal. Yet, so few of them look happy and ­motivated. How can that be?

"Someone should sit them down and tell them not to act like babies and kids. They should be proud of wearing that Arsenal shirt.

"M any of those players do not seem to realise how lucky they are to be at the club. I just want to shake the tree and tell them how fortunate they are to play at a club of Arsenal's standing.

"If Arsenal are to achieve anything this season, then the motivation must come back into the team. And the players have to be responsible for that."

Press Association

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