Monday 11 December 2017

'I won't change my style of play drastically any more' - Mesut Ozil defends attitude amid growing criticism

Mesut Ozil's Arsenal contract expires next year.
Mesut Ozil's Arsenal contract expires next year.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Mesut Ozil insists there is nothing wrong with his attitude amid claims he does not pull his weight at Arsenal.

The German World Cup winner is often criticised for a perceived lack of effort when he lines up for the Gunners.

The criticism has intensified in recent weeks with Arsenal struggling for results, falling out of the Premier League top four and being hammered 10-2 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Ozil, 28, was again a peripheral figure as Arsenal lost to Tottenham on Sunday, with Spurs guaranteeing they will finish above their neighbours for the first time since 1995.

The former Real Madrid man has a little over a year to run on his contract at the Emirates Stadium and has defended his displays.

"Some people like me, some people don't," Arsenal's club-record signing told goal.com.

"Some people look at my body language and think I don't care. But that's me. I won't change my body language or my style of play drastically any more.

"Expectations on me were very high everywhere, because I am a player who can make the difference. You have to deal with that.

"There will always be criticism and there will always be praise. But what matters is what the manager tells me. I have said that numerous times.

"But what I can't understand is when people say: 'Look, he does not push any more' or 'He does not run enough'. If you look at my numbers you can see I run a lot and I show a good attitude."

After the Spurs game, Ozil kicked a door in frustration having been told he had been selected for a drugs test, with manager Arsene Wenger defending the actions of his player.

"I am sorry that he kicked the door, but I can understand," said the Frenchman.

"I don't think his frustration was towards the drug test, it was towards the fact that we lost the game and that is the only explanation I have. I didn't speak about it with him because I only heard about it today.

"(I will talk to him) a little bit, yes. Because I don't know, really, what happened and it's always good as well to get the player's version."

Ozil's contract expires in 2018, as does team-mate Alexis Sanchez's deal.

Wenger himself is out of contract at the end of this season and has yet to announce whether he will stay or go.

But Ozil insists his own Arsenal future is not tied in with that of Wenger.

"It does not only depend on the manager," he said.

"Of course he was the one who convinced me to join Arsenal and he was a main factor for me to come here. He is a very experienced coach who made Arsenal one of the best clubs in the world.

"You must have respect for him, because he is a great manager. But I do not decide whether the manager stays or not. What's important for me is that we develop as a team and reach our goals."

Ozil also revealed he had received an offer from the lucrative Chinese Super League but has never been interested in a move to the Far East despite the vast money on offer.

"Money never played a big role for me in football," he added.

"I play football because I love it. Sure, you do not earn peanuts and the offer from China was tempting and interesting.

"But as I said: Money is not everything. I want to win titles and I have my goals I want to achieve. That is more important than money. That's why I said from the beginning, that China is not an option for me."

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