Mesut Ozil turns on critics that question his integrity
In a wide-ranging interview with the Athletic, Mesut Ozil has come out fighting against those that have attacked his fitness record.
Ozil has missed quite a few games since he signed for Arsenal, over 100 and that has led to some questioning his motivation. Former Gunner Martin Keown is one of those that laid into the 30-year-old
Keown said: ‘To miss that amount of games is quite remarkable, isn’t it? 100 matches in that period. I would say that is definitely questionable. We don’t know, only the player knows.
‘Is he injured, is he ill? One of the things as a player you have got to be available for selection & you want to give consistency.’
Those comments have clearly not gone down to well with the German playmaker.
Ozil defends himself
‘I get really frustrated when I miss a game through illness and people question if it is genuine,’ Ozil told The Athletic.
‘Yes, it happened a few times — usually in the winter — but what am I supposed to do? If you knew me, you would know it takes a lot for me to miss a game and I have never used sickness as an excuse. Actually the opposite.
‘I played many games when I was ill or had injuries. Before the Champions League game against Bayern Munich [in March 2017], I was sick and Arsene told me I was not in the squad because of that. The next morning, the guys from Arsenal called me and said, ‘Listen, you have to come to the stadium, you have to be in the squad’. Despite my illness, I joined the squad and played the last 20 minutes.
‘Most players don’t play when injured or sick — it influences your game, you can’t give everything — but I was always available unless it was impossible.’
This shows that Ozil is not immune to what is being said about him. His defence of his fitness levels shows that he gets hurt by those accusing him of trying to avoid playing.
I suppose it comes down to whether you believe him or not. I personally do, he is a professional and I doubt he feigns injury etc. However, he does have to answer for his occasional poor attitude on the field and not tracking back.
The bottom line is that no matter what Ozil says or does he will always have his supporters and critics. Nothing he says will change anybody’s minds. They are already made up.