Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has conceded that Mesut Ozil used to be lazy, but isn’t any more.
Having initially been slow to get going when he moved to Arsenal in 2014, the former Real Madrid man attracted plenty of criticism for not putting in the hard yards on the pitch.
However, Ozil has notched seven goals in all competitions so far this season and Wenger believes there has been a change in the Germany international.
‘He pushes himself much more. He has that in him as well,’ said Wenger.
‘Sometimes the trap for very talented players is that it is easy for them. They know subconsciously they don’t need to push themselves too hard to be efficient.
‘It’s so easy. I can’t tell you because I was never in that situation!’
As well as conceding that the Germany international has improved his work-rate, Wenger also admitted that Ozil’s style of play leaves him open to suggestions that he is not working hard, even when he is.
‘You have to be cautious in that, by looking at that,’ Wenger added.
‘People who look fluid, lax with their joints, not stiff with their joints, don’t look as if they push themselves too much, but if you look at their performances they surprise you many times.
‘They look like they don’t push themselves. More the reluctance with him was that people were saying he didn’t go too much into challenges or tough contact.
‘He’s more a guy whose strength is to get out of things but on that front I believe he’s improved as well.’
Arsenal currently sit second in the table on goal difference, level on 23 points with both Manchester City above them and Liverpool below them.
Next up for Ozil and co. is the big one: the North London derby against Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday in a 12.00pm kick off.