‘Ozil pushes himself much more now'

Arsenal celebrate at Sunderland

Having worked alongside Mesut Ozil every day for the past three years, Arsene Wenger is uniquely placed to examine the playmaker’s development.

After the World Cup winner scored a brilliant goal against Ludogorets on Tuesday night - his seventh this season - the boss was asked about the reasons for the rapid strides he has made.

This is what the Arsenal manager had to say:

on whether Ozil works harder now…

He pushes himself much more. He has that in him as well. Sometimes the trap for very talented players is that it is easy for them. They know subconsciously they don't need to push themselves too hard to be efficient. It's so easy. I can't tell you because I was never in that situation!

on whether his style made people think he wasn’t working hard…

You have to be cautious in that, by looking at that. People who look fluid, lax with their joints, not stiff with their joints, don’t look as if they push themselves too much, but if you look at their performances they surprise you many times. They look like they don’t push themselves. More the reluctance with him was that people were saying he didn’t go too much into challenges or tough contact. He’s more a guy whose strength is to get out of things but on that front I believe he’s improved as well.

on whether the Premier League was initially a shock for him…

A little bit, yes. He’s a player who left some people sceptical but every time you looked at the game again, he had the ball more, made something intelligent happen and I was always supportive of him.

on how Ozil is enjoying life at Arsenal…

I believe that a player needs to meet his needs inside a club. Where he lives he is certainly in London. It is difficult not to be happy in London. I believe that the happiness a player has when he plays comes out by his performance. I hope he is happy.


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