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Football Reporting


Ljungberg believes ‘there should be a space’ for Ozil in Arsenal squad

Left out of the roster for both the Europa League and Premier League, the ex-Germany star appears to have no future at the Emirates

Former Arsenal star Freddie Ljungberg believes that Mesut Ozil should still have a role to play at the Emirates Stadium.

Ex-Germany international Ozil finds himself on the periphery with the Gunners, having fallen out of favour with manager Mikel Arteta.

The playmaker has not been included in either the Premier League or Europa League squads this season, despite being the club’s highest earner.

Ljungberg, who had a brief spell as Gunners interim boss before Arteta was appointed in December 2019, feels that a compromise needs to be reached.

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“Mesut is a great football player, we know that,” Ljungberg told The Athletic . “We all have different opinions and everybody needs to accept that people have different opinions.

“For me, maybe the way football has gone now sometimes he’s not as athletic defensively. Let’s say when you play Man City you don’t have the ball and need to just run after them, maybe you need more athletic players.

“What I tried to do, what I believed in, was that when you play teams who, on paper, you’re a bigger club than or you think they’ll have a low block and you need someone to unlock it, Mesut has the total quality to do that. I think there is a space for a player like that in those kind of games.

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“But then as well you need to have a communication with the player — not just Mesut, every player. There are different games that suit certain players and other games suit others. The days of playing every single minute of every game maybe are just not happening that often anymore.

“When I left in the summer he was in the squads and now he’s not. What’s happened there, I can’t answer. I don’t know if something else has happened, I have no clue. But if you look at pure football qualities, I think my answer is quite obvious.

“When I was interim coach, I would play him in the games when I thought he could unlock defences, even if I knew his defensive job was not as good as some other players. So that’s my opinion; there should be a space in certain games.”

After nine games, Arsenal are 12th in the Premier League standings. They play Wolves at home on Sunday in their next outing.

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