Arsenal boss gives £350,000-a-week playmaker chance to prove his quality

Arsenal manager has challenged Mesut Ozil to show he is at his best and set to be selected, insisting the playmaker is a ‘special player’ and can contribute for the London giants.

Mesut has not played since the resumption of football after the covid crisis, with little explanation as to why he was not even on the substitutes’ bench with Man City in the PL on 17 June. Arsenal manager insisted that was a tactical choice, which few people believed, while Ozil is now sidelined with a reported back injury.

Mikel Arteta expects former Germany international to be upset that he has not been on the field, but insists he can only pick players who are set to perform. ‘I’m expecting a player that is not playing to feel hurt and disappointed,’ said the Spanish tactician ahead of Gunners home clash with Norwich on Wednesday.

‘I believe that he is not very happy, because he’s not playing but as well he picked up an injury the other day and we have to wait and see how he evolves.’ Mikel Arteta and the 31-year-old attacker played together for the Gunners in the Spaniard’s final three and the playmaker’s first three campaigns at the club, so they know each other very well.

Arteta knows what the German attacker can bring to the team but there are clearly doubts over whether he can get the best out of his talents. His back injury, which kept him out of the FA Cup victory against Sheffield United at the weekend, is being assessed and could feature against Norwich on Wednesday, but a start looks extremely unlikely.