• Premier League

Ozil hasn't got enough fight, says Ballack

ESPN staff
September 18, 2014
Wilshere recognises Arsenal struggles

Mesut Ozil is not a fighter and proved it by failing to battle for his place at Real Madrid, according to former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack.

Ozil has come in for increasing criticism since his £42.5 million move to Arsenal and put in another poor performance in the 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

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Following Gareth Bale's £86m move to Real from Tottenham, Ozil appeared to be surplus to requirements at the Bernabeu, where his temperament was also questioned at times, but Ballack believes his compatriot should not have left.

"What's happened with him? I don't know," Ballack told Sky Sports. "There must be something behind [the scenes] because his head is mostly down, the body language is not improving even with the world champion [medal] in the pocket.

"I don't really know what's happened over the last year since he moved from Madrid to Arsenal.

"A player like him with his ability should have tried to stay longer at Real Madrid. That is my opinion. You could see there was a little bit trouble, a little bit moaning. He played well but you need time to adapt at a club.

"If there is some ups and downs [at a club] you need to fight these things.

"And now it's a little bit the same situation. He got criticised here [at Arsenal], he's not at his best but I don't see a reaction.

"A player like him with his ability should show a reaction but he never was the strongest player in terms of fighting, body language.

"That's his weakness - especially in these situations now when he can't use his technique and his vision."

Ozil was fielded on the right of a front three in Arsenal's defeat on Tuesday and struggled to cope with his defensive duties, often leaving 19-year-old right-back Hector Bellerin exposed.

However, Ballack - who won 98 caps for Germany - is confident Ozil will rediscover his form and says Arsenal fans should trust Arsene Wenger.

"When you a buy a player like Ozil you know his strengths and Arsene Wenger knows, I think, where he is at his best," said Ballack.

"If he [Wenger] thinks he can help the team more as a No.10 I think he would put him at No.10.

"In his younger ages when he grew up from Schalke and Werder Bremen he was mostly in the [centre of] midfield so he felt very comfortable there but in terms of pace he's good on the side as well.

"But, he needs to learn how to defend as well because on these winger positions you need to defend. At this level, if one player's out you have no chance."

Mesut Ozil was criticised for a poor display against Borussia Dortmund © Getty Images
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