Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil has rejected praise from manager Arsene Wenger, conceding that his performances have not been up to his own high standards.
Wenger hailed the £42.4 million Germany international last month, telling reporters: "Everything he does is intelligent."
But the World Cup winner, while thankful for his manager's praise, is not sure the kind words are deserved.
Ozil confused by Wenger
"I’m not so sure about the praise. You always have to deliver on the pitch," Ozil was quoted as saying by the Daily Star. “I’m so proud to play for a club with so many fans but my goal is firstly to help the team on the pitch and I do that.
“What’s most important for me is what the boss thinks of me. He gives me his trust and he knows the potential I have.
"I’m just thankful that he’s given me his faith and I think that if he says I play intelligently, then he’s probably right!”
Ozil has struggled at Arsenal
Ozil has flattered to deceive since joining the Gunners from Real Madrid last summer. The 25-year-old has struggled to produce his best form at the Emirates Stadium, leading to criticism from fans and pundits alike.
Having had a full season to settle in and adjust to life in England, this was expected to be the season in which the Premier League would finally see the best of Ozil. However, he has failed to make an impact in his three performances this term, sparking fears that his struggles will continue.
Some Arsenal fans are of the opinion that, in order to get the best out of Ozil's considerable talent, Wenger must move the playmaker from the left wing to a more central position.
However, a change in system is unlikely to come from Wenger, who already faces the weekly dilemma of fitting Ozil into his starting line-up alongside the likes of Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey.
Ozil keen to remind people that assists count
But despite his struggles, Ozil still managed to contribute 13 assists last season, and the attacking midfielder is keen to remind people that those who provide goals are just as important as those who score them.
“Often there is a lot of talk or a lot written about goals and not necessarily about who has given the assist, which is normal," he continued. "But you can’t forget that the assists are just as important as goals.
“It doesn’t matter who sets up the goal or who scores it, the most important thing is that we are successful as a team.
"I’m a player who doesn’t score that many goals but gives a lot more assists.
“Of course my aims this season are to score lots of goals and provide many assists to help the team. I’m positive that I can do that because I have the potential and the faith of the coach.”
Ozil will be hoping to make an impact this Saturday, when Arsenal host the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City - a match which should see England international Danny Welbeck make his first start for the Gunners since completing his £16 million transfer from Manchester United on deadline day.
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