LONDON: Arsenal coach Unai Emery is not concerned about Mesut Özil’s desire to perform despite a suggestion by former coach Arsène Wenger that the German playmaker’s retirement from international football could affect his motivation.
Özil quit international football shortly after returning from the World Cup in Russia. He had been widely criticised for posing with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a photograph in May. The 30-year-old said he had also faced “racism and disrespect” because of his Turkish roots.
Wenger, who left Arsenal in May after 22 years in charge, said earlier this week that Özil should come out of international retirement because otherwise he “loses a bit” of his drive.
“His motivation is very clear. We need every player with a big motivation every day, in training, with continuing improving and helping us with his quality,” Emery told a news conference ahead of Monday’s Premier League clash against Leicester City.
“The same with Mesut as any other player. We want every day to find this in every player.”
Özil, who missed Arsenal’s 5-1 victory at Fulham earlier this month with a back spasm, is available for Monday’s game.
Goalkeeper Petr Čech is also close to a return to training after sustaining a hamstring injury last month.
Arsenal’s demolition of Fulham at Craven Cottage extended their winning run in the league to six games and left them fourth in the table with 18 points, raising optimism among supporters that the club can return to their glory days.
Emery, however, said there was still plenty of room for improvement.
“The supporters can enjoy it with us but also we’re speaking with our reality every day. We need to improve… the Fulham match was a good result and a good game for 90 minutes. But in the first 45 minutes we needed to do better,” Emery added.