Mertesacker defends Arsenal star playmaker from barrage of criticism

Former Arsenal centre-back Per Mertesacker has defended Mesut Ozil from the recent criticisms levelled at him.

The 29-year-old bore the brunt of the majority of criticisms levelled at the Germany national team following their 2018 World Cup disappointment.

Ozil played the full 90 minutes during both of Germany’s defeats but did create seven goalscoring chances during the defeat to South Korea.

Mertesacker – who retired from football at the end of last season – defended Ozil during an interview with the German outlet NDR2.

“Tying everything to his person is wrong,” Mertesacker told NDR2.

“I think it’s just good that he’s on holiday now, that he can look back, I think he’s very self-critical and can see that [it was not all his fault] well.

“He knows he can call me anytime and count on me, we’ve been playing together for so long and we’ve seen so many great things.”

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Mertesacker played alongside Ozil for Weder Bremen, Arsenal and for the Germany national team. The pair were part of the Germany team which won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Ozil is scheduled to return to north London to begun pre-season training with the rest of the squad later this month.

The 29-year old provided 14 assists and scored five goals in 35 appearances for Arsenal this season.