Mesut Ozil urged to 'step up' by Per Mertesacker and offer Arsenal what 'no-one' else can
Per Mertesacker shared the Arsenal (2013-2018) and Germany (2009-2014) dressing room with Mesut Ozil for nearly five years, meaning there can’t be many people who know the star better in football.
When the big defender was still around in the Emirates Stadium dressing room, Ozil needed no words of encouragement.
In the 2015/16 season he topped the Premier League assist charts with 19 before going on to shine at Euro 2016.
He was arguably playing the best football of his career at that point, perhaps only matched by his final season at Real Madrid where he finished with 26 assists.
But now the Gunners star seems to be a scapegoat with Unai Emery constantly facing difficulty accommodating and getting the best from him.
Now his former team-mate and academy boss Mertesacker has urged Ozil to stand up and play a big role for Arsenal.
“Yeah, and he needs to [step up]. There’s no doubt about that,” Mertesacker told talkSPORT.
“He needs to play at this best, when he is a leader on the field because of his actions with the football, because of this magic touch no one has in the squad. No one has that in the squad and we really need that.
“I want him to be as fit as possible and the manager to get the best out of him by putting him in the number ten position, because that’s him playing him at his best.
“But the manager has requirements for that to happen. So I wish that Mesut puts a shift in, gets fit as quickly as possible and blows everyone away again.
“There’s a lot of doubt with him, but he can deliver and that’s what’s stuck with me through all our years at Bremen, the Germany national team and Arsenal, that he has the capability of doing so.
“We’re in a situation where we need players to step up. Everyone is asking: ‘Who is the captain? Who are the leaders?’
“We need players who step up on the field and show what they’ve capable of, and I have a good feeling we have a lot of people who can do that.”
Ozil is yet to make an appearance in the Premier League so far this season.
He missed the opening day of the campaign at Newcastle following a security incident involving team-mate Sead Kolasinac.
The attacking midfielder was then left out of the win over Burnley due to illness before missing out on the matchday squad against Liverpool.
He was then an unused substitute against Tottenham in the north London derby and he’ll be hoping to play a part at Watford on Sunday (4.30pm).