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Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has said he doesn’t care about the criticism he receives.
He acknowledged that he splits opinion among the football-watching public, but he said the only criticism he cares about is what comes from his “inner circle” and not from other people, per the Daily Mail‘s Sami Mokbel:
“Look, I know there’s people out there that like me, there are also people who don’t like me. This is a fact of life. But, for me, what is important is what the people in my inner circle tell me. I don’t care what people say outside of that. It doesn’t affect me.
“If the coach, or people in my circle, tell me: ‘Mesut you have to do this, or have to do that,’ then I listen. I’ll take that and work on it. But I don’t look at what someone else is saying. It really doesn’t affect me.“
Since moving to Arsenal from Real Madrid for £42.5 million in 2013, Ozil has found himself under the microscope.
In the Premier League, he has often been criticised for his work rate.
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright assessed the German’s statistics last season and established that accusations of laziness and disinterest towards Ozil were potentially wide of the mark.
The 30-year-old has fielded further criticism in a Germany shirt, again arguably unfairly.
He found himself scapegoated for the then-world champions’ group-stage exit from the 2018 FIFA World Cup and was then pilloried when he cited “racism and disrespect” as his reasons for retiring from international duty under the current regime, per Bild am Sonntag (h/t Goal’s Harry Sherlock).
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Mesut Ozil is done with international football. https://t.co/l92IpbqD64
Since Ozil’s difficult summer, though, he has played a key role in Arsenal’s resurgence under new head coach Unai Emery.
The Gunners are unbeaten in their past 14 matches in all competitions and sit just outside the Premier League’s top four.
They look to have the quality in their side to return to the UEFA Champions League and should also be a contender to win the UEFA Europa League.
Ozil is insistent, though, that their recent good run must not let up, per Mokbel: “It’s a tactical thing with the new coach. We are learning from him. We are trying to give our best on the pitch every day and every hour. But we have to keep being hungry and keep progressing. It’s not like we are done now. It’s like we are just starting. We are doing well for now, but that doesn’t mean we stop.”
Arsenal host Sporting CP in the Europa League on Thursday and can guarantee themselves a place in the last 32 if they win.
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