Unai Emery aims fresh dig at Mesut Ozil and claims Arsenal players didn’t want him as captain

Mesut Ozil struggled to win the confidence of former Arsenal manager Unai Emery
Mesut Ozil struggled to win the confidence of former Arsenal manager Unai Emery (Picture: Getty)

Unai Emery has aimed a fresh dig at Arsenal star Mesut Ozil and claims his former teammates rejected the idea of the club’s highest earner captaining them.

The former Germany international endured a fractious relationship with his former manager and was regularly left out of high-profile matches away from, with Emery claiming Ozil was ill-suited to playing against physical opponents.

Ozil was practically frozen out during the opening period of the current campaign before Emery was forced into making an embarrassing U-turn as results deteriorated at an alarming rate.

Bringing Ozil back into the fold failed to save Emery from losing his job in December, however, and the Spaniard believes the former Real Madrid playmaker’s failure to adapt to his demands was down to a lack of commitment.

‘I spoke a lot with Ozil,’ Emery told The Guardian. ‘He has to be self‑critical too, analyse his attitude and commitment.

Mesut Ozil has shown flashes of his best form since Mikel Arteta took over from Unai Emery
Mesut Ozil has shown flashes of his best form since Mikel Arteta took over from Unai Emery (Picture: Getty)

‘I tried with all my might to help Ozil. Throughout my career, talented players have reached their best level with me. I was always positive, wanting him to play, be involved.’

Ozil was part of Emery’s leadership group during his first season in charge but after he polled the players, a move he was widely ridiculed for, again in September Granit Xhaka emerged as the man the squad wanted as captain following Laurent Koscielny’s acrimonious departure.

‘In pre-season I told him I wanted to help recover the best Ozil. I wanted a high level of participation and commitment in the dressing room,’ added Emery. ‘I respected him and thought he could help.

‘He could have been a captain but the dressing room didn’t want him to be. That’s not what I decided; that’s what the players decided.

‘Captains are ones who have to keep defending the club, the coach, team-mates.’

MORE: Unai Emery takes swipe at Arsenal board and claims Aaron Ramsey’s injury led to his departure

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