Özil will be footballer of the year contender next season – Wenger
Mesut Özil is a fantastic player, according to Arsene Wenger. “I would put him on the list to be player of the season next season,” says the Arsenal manager. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Arsene Wenger has predicted Mesut Özil will be a contender for the player of the year award next season as he prepared to welcome back the midfielder for Arsenal’s Premier League visit to Hull City on Sunday.
Özil has not played since he tore his hamstring in the Champions League second leg at Bayern Munich on March 11th and the club-record signing’s first season in English football has been marked by highs and lows.
Wenger, though, is convinced the German will be both mentally and physically stronger for the experience.
“Mesut had a period where he was tired because he was not used to playing through the [English] season,” Wenger said.
“Before he got injured, he had a period where he was a bit jaded. But he is a fantastic player and I would put him on the list to be player of the season next season.
“The first season is the season in which you adapt and then you know what will happen and you go into it. I believe he will know better his partners, he will know better the league and the potential is absolutely fantastic.
“The improvement will be in goals, assists and his presence in the game.”
Özil signed from Real Madrid on the final day of the summer transfer window and Wenger noted that, as such, he was denied “real preparation” with Arsenal in pre-season. There has also been a culture shock, which has gone beyond English football’s lack of a winter break.
“Mesut said in Spain that when Real Madrid are 2-0 up, what struck him was that teams give up,” Wenger said.
‘Fight like mad’
“They know that they will lose the game. And he said that what is the most difficult for him here is that at 2-0, the teams fight like mad to come back. He feels that is the main difference, that you have to fight until the last second of the game.”
Wenger believes Özil can contribute over the final four league fixtures to help Arsenal to a 17th consecutive Champions League qualification and in the FA Cup final against this weekend’s opponents Hull on May 17th.
“It is just good to have him back. He is one of our main players offensively. We are a team who is used to scoring goals and, recently away from home, we haven’t scored so much, so it’s important we get our offensive potential back.”
Wenger has Mathieu Flamini back from suspension. –