Arsenal boss Unai Emery has reiterated that Mesut Ozil still has a part to play for him, but has also challenged him to get fully fit to earn a place in the XI.
The 30-year-old has yet to feature this season having missed the opening weekend clash at Newcastle Utd over security concerns, while illness and a lack of fitness ensured he sat out against Burnley and Liverpool respectively.
That follows on from last year where Ozil made 35 appearances in all competitions, contributing just six goals and three assists in those outings, as he struggled to cement his place in Emery’s starting line-up.
Those issues appear to be continuing this season, but Emery has reiterated that the German playmaker still has a key role to play for him given what he can offer the team with his attributes and influence on the pitch, but the Spanish tactician has insisted that he must be consistent in training first.
“We need him because he is a different player in our team. He brings different characteristics to our play and we need him to be available to help us with his quality,” Emery is quoted as saying by The Sun.
“He wasn’t 100 percent ready to play at Liverpool last week but this week he is getting better with each training session and is closer to helping us.
“My message to him is that first we need him to be consistent in training and then to be available for each match.”
Time will tell if Ozil gets the nod against Tottenham in the north London derby this weekend, but he will perhaps be boosted by Emery’s comments above in that he has insisted that Ozil still has a big part to play and has made it clear what he must do to get back into the side.
It certainly won’t be easy though with the likes of Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe adding further competition for places this summer, and so there is a challenge in front of Ozil in the coming months to re-emerge as a pivotal figure for the Gunners.