• Premier League

Wenger insists Ozil can handle pressure

ESPN staff
September 21, 2013
Mesut Ozil impressed on his debut for Arsenal against Sunderland © Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted he is 'surprised' by the comments from Real Madrid president Florentino Perez claiming Mesut Ozil struggled to cope with the expectations that surrounded him during his time at the Bernabeu.

Perez claimed Ozil "couldn't handle the pressure at Madrid" and asked to leave the club ahead of his £42.2 million move to Arsenal, but Wenger offered up a different version of events over his club record transfer.

"I know Florentino well and I'm surprised," said Wenger. "I spoke to Ozil about it and he was surprised as well. He said he is not sure that Perez said that completely. Real Madrid wanted to let one player go and Ozil wanted to come here.

"He played with pressure for the German national team and he won a championship with Real Madrid, where there is a lot of pressure. I don't detect this as a problem for him."

Meanwhile, Wenger has claimed midfielder Jack Wilshere is willing to "sacrifice himself" for the good of the team as he settled into a revised role in the Gunners line-up.

The signing of Ozil has seen Wilshere removed from the free roaming role he had for much of last season, now asked to play on the left side of midfield which Wenger admitted was not his best position.

Yet the Frenchman believes the 21-year-old will benefit from the switch as he looks to regain full fitness, continuing to recover from the ankle injury that required surgery during the summer.

"Jack is always ready to sacrifice himself for the team and that is absolutely fantastic," Wenger told the Arsenal website. "[Left flank] is not his best position, we all know that. But he has a lot of freedom to move inside and he plays a little bit in the Cazorla role. He does that well.

"I think he will benefit from that transitional period there and physically he will become much stronger. He needs that. Overall, he is very disciplined as well.

"He can do the physical job on the flanks. It's the hardest job today in the modern game and he does that very well. I'm very pleased with his performances."

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