Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann has warned his compatriot Mesut Ozil he must start performing in the big games for Arsene Wenger’s side this season.
The retired stopper is a huge fan of the German playmaker, but feels he needs to deliver world-class displays on a more regular basis in north London.
Ozil remains highly regarded in football circles and is a popular figure amongst Gunners supporters. However, some critics say he’s failed to justify the £42 million fee paid to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013.
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Lehmann doesn’t necessarily agree with those accusations but is adamant that by adding more consistency to his game the 26-year-old playmaker will quieten his detractors and cement his status as a star player at the Emirates Stadium.
“Everyone knows he can be a fantastic player,” he is quoted saying by The Sun. “But you need to be a fantastic player in the big games.
“You don’t need to be a fantastic player in the small games and mediocre player for the big games. He can definitely do that — but must prove it.”
Lehmann added: “There is a misperception among a lot of players that think that when they get to a certain age and with their quality they don’t need to prove anything anymore.
“And if a player thinks like that, you can get rid of him immediately — because you need to prove yourself everyday. You need to know how to think and how to programme yourself.
“Of course, he [Ozil] can improve. You can’t get better on the day you retire from football — but every day before then you can.”
Asked for an explanation why Ozil’s form dipped midway through his first season in England Lehmann pinpointed the period of transition after arriving in the Premier League from La Liga.
“Coming across to the Premier League is difficult,” he explained.”Especially when you come across from Spain because it’s less physical and less fast although technically very good.
“In his first season in England, I thought he did very well and then he had a little dip, probably because it’s not easy and nobody really knows how your body reacts to the high physical aspect of English football.
“You guys also don’t have a winter break, which is also a factor. But everyone has their little dip caused by these things.”
Arsenal fans: Do you agree that Mesut Ozil needs to offer more in the big games? Or are you happy with his level of performances in north London? Have your say below…