Mesut Özil hasn’t played for Arsenal since March (Photo: Getty)
Mesut Özil may have played his last match for Arsenal, but according to young defender Daniel Ballard, his influence on the training field has been felt again in recent months.
The former Real Madrid superstar became a star in the first weeks of Mikel Arteta’s tenure, but hasn’t played competitive games for the Gunners since March.
According to Arteta, who insists that he offered the club the highest salaries, there are more than enough opportunities to prove that he deserves to be included in the long-term plans.
The former German international also clashed with Arteta’s predecessor, Unai Emery, who cited Özil’s lack of intensive training as the reason why he was regularly dismissed during his eventful tenure.
Ballard, a 21-year-old defender, insists that Özil is a model professional and that his unparalleled technical skills help to improve his environment.
Bucayo Saka has been named Arsenal’s Player of the Month for December (Photo: Getty).
He said Goal: I always say that Özil is the best thing I’ve ever lived with or trained with. It’s like he sees everything in slow motion. The way he moves and flows with the ball is so natural.
You can’t predict what he’s going to do, and you can’t turn him off for a second or leave a half-metre hole and be a bit lazy because he’s going to hit him right in the bull’s-eye.
Some of his hits and passes were successful, I’ve never seen that before.
In the absence of Özil, the influence of Bukayo Saca has increased exponentially over the past twelve months. The 19-year-old, who already plays as central defender for England, was named Arsenal’s Player of the Month in December for his influential role in three consecutive victories over Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom.
Read more: Arsenal FC
He went on to say: If Bucayo didn’t make it to the top, none of us had any hope. He played in our U16’s in our U18’s and was always the best player. If there was one person you knew would score a goal or do magic, it would be her.
I remember that at the time of U23 a lot of our hopes were placed in him, at least mine. He was the only person I knew would score a goal or win the game for us.
I’m just glad the club recognizes this special talent because he’s such a nice and humble man. You want him to be okay because he’s a good guy and he works really hard. Everyone who knows him is very happy for him.
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