A former Emirates Stadium favourite doesn’t think the German is being left out of the Gunners squad for footballing reasons
Mesut Ozil “could get into any team in the Premier League”, according to Jack Wilshere, who is “surprised” by Mikel Arteta’s stance on the Arsenal midfielder.
Ozil has racked up 254 appearances for Arsenal since moving to Emirates Stadium from Real Madrid for a then-club record fee of £42 million ($56m) in 2013, scoring 44 goals while also providing an impressive 77 assists.
However, the ex-Germany international’s last outing for the Gunners came during a 1-0 win over West Ham on March 7, with Arteta taking the decision to exile the playmaker from his squad following the three-month coronavirus-enforced break in the 2019-20 season.
The 31-year-old didn’t see a single minute of action as Arsenal secured an eighth-place top-flight finish and a record-extending 14th FA Cup triumph, and his fortunes have not improved at the start of the new campaign.
Arteta left Ozil out of his final Premier League and Europa League squads in October, prompting the ex-Madrid star to question the club’s loyalty in a passionate rant on social media.
He admitted to being saddened by his current situation, but also pledged to keep fighting for his place heading into the final eight months of his current contract.
Wilshere doesn’t think Ozil is being left out of the Gunners team for footballing reasons, and has insisted that his old team-mate is still capable of playing for any of the top teams in English football.
“Yes, I am [surprised], because I played with him and I used to love playing with him,” the former Arsenal talisman told The ITV Football Football Show.
“I really enjoyed it and he is one of the best I have played with, so, yes, I am surprised. But there is obviously something that we don’t know because a player of his quality [should be playing].
“I reckon he could get into any team in the Premier League, that is my opinion, and to not even have the opportunity to compete for a place is difficult to understand.
“But there must be a reason, I don’t know.”
Wilshere also rejected the notion of laziness being one of the main factors behind Ozil’s continued omission, pointing out that the German’s work off the ball often went unnoticed during his time at the club.
“You look at the number 10s and a lot of them run in behind, they do a lot of work without the ball and the luxury players don’t,” he added.
“Look, Ozil… there was a lot of shouts about him being lazy, but I have never found him to be lazy.
“I know this is easy to say, but if you looked at his stats after a game, he wasn’t at the bottom of it. He is also pretty quick, surprisingly.”