Saturday 24 March 2018

Wenger: Ozil deserves more credit

Mesut Ozil, pictured, deserves more praise, according to Arsene Wenger
Mesut Ozil, pictured, deserves more praise, according to Arsene Wenger

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger insists Mesut Ozil is judged unfairly, but accepts he will never excel in defence.

Ozil has played twice since helping Germany lift the World Cup and was involved in the build-up to Alexis Sanchez's goal against Besiktas that guaranteed a place in the group stage of the Champions League.

The 25-year-old playmaker is capable of producing moments of genius, but his languid style can frustrate Arsenal fans who accuse him of drifting in and out of games.

Wenger insists Germany supporters have similar misgivings, but believes his vision should receive greater recognition.

"Ozil came back to us after the World Cup on August 11 and will be at his best after three or four weeks," the Gunners boss said.

"People are very harsh on Ozil because he's a player who is easy with his play.

"He will never be a tackler, but he's not getting enough praise.

"He came back a World Cup winner and he played seven games out of the seven in Brazil.

"There's been the same debate about him in Germany, but he was always in the team in the World Cup."

Wenger enthuses about Ozil's technical brilliance and vision.

"When you watch his game back the next day you think 'what a player'," Wenger said.

"Everything he does is intelligent and the timing of absolutely everything he does is absolutely perfect.

"You never catch him giving the ball too late. The number of players you catch giving the ball too late is unbelievable. You never get that with Ozil.

"He's like a guy who plays music with perfect timing. There aren't many players like that."

Wenger has denied reports that Ozil's fellow World Cup winner Lukas Podolski will depart before Monday's transfer deadline.

However, Wenger does not view Podolski as the player to fill the lone striker role in the injury-enforced absence of Olivier Giroud.

"Lukas can score goals, but he's not a real centre forward. That's what I believe," Wenger said.

"He's a player on the flank or behind the striker, but is not a target man.

"He likes to come to the ball and is a very good link player. He has a role to play. He won't go out.

"But at the moment I see Yaya Sanogo and Sanchez as players who can go in behind."

Press Association

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