Mesut Özil insists that he’s a leader at Arsenal, but takes a very different approach when compared to the types of players we particularly associate with that word, as reported by the Metro.
The World Cup winner has often led by example this season, and has unquestionably been one of Arsenal’s standout performers. He’s leading the Premier League assist charts, and has put in some truly phenomenal performances.
He insists he’s been a leader on and off the pitch, talking to his teammates and inspiring them to make the step up to his level.
“I don’t have to be loud, I don’t have to slate people in the dressing room,” Özil told the Arsenal Magazine (via the Metro).
“That’s never been my way, but I’ve spoken a lot in front of the squad this season.
“Especially in the situations where we’ve been behind at half-time and I’ve encouraged the team.
“It’s the same on the pitch. When you’re always there for the team, when you’re playing every week, you become a leader.
“I don’t shout at my team-mates, I don’t have a go at them when they do something wrong.
“I prefer to talk to them and help where I can. I want to be there for the team.”
The German international doesn’t exactly strike you as a typical leader, and it’s something he’s come in for some real criticism for in the past. He hasn’t always been a big game player for Arsenal, and when things aren’t going their way he often goes missing.
In stark contrast, players like Alexis Sanchez – even when not at their best – give 110% even when everything is going wrong, and look to drag the team over the line with their performances.
As an assist master, Özil seems to be the the type of player who helps take an already good team that one step further to greatness. When Arsenal are playing well the playmaker’s superb passing makes them look even better, but when the rest of the team aren’t performing his vision is somewhat wasted.
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Arsenal have arguably been missing a real leader for quite some time, and it’s part of the reason they have struggled so badly when they really should have been capitalising.