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Arsene Wenger gives explanation for Mesut Ozil’s showing at the World Cup

Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said that Mesut Ozil may have been affected by the criticism towards him prior to the summer World Cup in Russia. Reigning champions Germany were shockingly ousted at the group stage of the global tournament and the Gunners midfielder was one of those put at blame for the poor performance.
Speaking on BeIN Sports, Wenger indicated that the German may have been hampered by the doubts over his international future after he and Ilkay Gundogan were pictured with controversial Turkey president RecepTayyipErdoğan prior to the World Cup, he said: “I know Ozil well, he’s an exceptional football player. Him and [Ilkay] Gundogan suffered with what happened before the World Cup because they have been vindicated in Germany.

“Ozil is a guy who needs support, he doesn’t need controversy. When I watched him play, I could feel there were situations in the game where he could have moved forward, progressed, and played more vertical. He played with security. He played alright, but he didn’t play with complete freedom and played with the handbrake on this World Cup.”

Ozil managed to feature in just two of Germany’s group stage games at the World Cup and both of them resulted in defeats to Mexico and South Korea. Since then, there have been plenty of question marks raised regarding the future of some of the senior players and team manager Olivier Bierhoff has recently admitted that Germany may have made the mistake including Ozil in the 23-man squad.

The German footballer is presently on a vacation following World Cup campaign but he is expected to report for first-team training under new boss Unai Emery ahead of the Gunners’ pre-season tour of Singapore. Arsenal have so far pursued three players in Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno and Sokratis Papastathopoulos during the ongoing transfer window.