Interview

How to handle the step up to first-team football

As a World Cup winner, Mesut Ozil has reached the very pinnacle of the game.

But he can still remember what it was like when he was starting out, and he has some advice for the likes of Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson as they look to establish themselves in the first team.

"I just want to say that the most important thing is to believe in yourself," Ozil told Arsenal Player. "Of course you have some days when it doesn't go so well but you have to believe in yourself, keep working and the most important thing is to have fun. 

"If you don't have fun, if you are losing and you make mistakes you will be disappointed. But don't listen to anyone, you know how good you are, believe in yourself and have fun.

"I was nervous [when I entered the first-team dressing room at Schalke] but also excited because it was the first time I spent time with the players. I was very, very quiet. I didn’t speak a lot in the dressing room, I was just looking to the left and the right and couldn’t believe I was here now playing with them. It was a great moment for me.

00:11

Mesut on 🔥! Ozil's backheel

"I was just looking and thinking, ‘Oh my God, now I am here! Now I have to show my quality’. I remember Altintop, Krstajic, Bordon, Lincoln, Kevin Kuryani, Asamoah - those people helped me a lot, and it was easier for me to show my potential on the pitch because they all helped me a lot. They stood behind me, so I was able to just enjoy playing football.

"Sometimes it was difficult, I am a guy who always wants to play to help the team, so if you play at such a young age for a team like Schalke, you don't always have a lot of minutes to [impress]. I was always giving everything to play in training, and after that if I'm not in the squad, or didn't play those players always came to me and showed their respect. They spoke to me and told me I have a lot of quality, be calm, believe in yourself and your time will come."

 

 

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