Former Chelsea assistant and caretaker manager Ray Wilkins has today given an unusual, albeit understandable piece of advice to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on midfielder Mesut Ozil.
Questions surrounding Ozil’s importance to the Gunners’ fortunes have come to the fore over recent weeks, with their impressive performance in a 0-0 stalemate away to Chelsea last weekend having come with the German sidelined through injury.
Many have noted that the North London outfit perform far better as a defensive unit when Ozil is not in the team, with some sections of Arsenal fans now calling for the 28-year-old to be indefinitely benched during big games.
‘You have to work for the team’
One supporter of the theory that Ozil is very much expendable for the Gunners is former English international and Chelsea manager Ray Wilkins, who has today suggested that Arsene Wenger should only utilise his gifted German star during matches at the Emirates stadium.
Speaking in an interview with AskFans, Wilkins explained:
‘I don’t think he will get back in the team. The way Wenger set things out at Stamford Bridge – he did it remarkably well.’
‘I would only play Ozil at the Emirates, personally. Away from home, you have to fight and you have to fight to eleven. You can’t fight as ten.’
‘Ozil is a wonderfully gifted footballer, don’t get me wrong. I love him to pieces, but you have to work for the team.’
‘When you lose the ball – get yourself back and start working the for team.’
The 61-year-old continued:
‘If you look at the team on Sunday, they were fantastic. They had a fantastic work ethic.’
‘Xhaka never left the front of the back four, Ramsey went off and did what he did – they didn’t play Sanchez, they didn’t play Ozil and it worked.’
‘Ozil has to conform to what’s happening with the team.’
‘As an attacking force, he’s wonderful but when you lose the ball, you need to lose it as eleven, not ten and that’s what happens.’