Former Germany international Michael Ballack has voiced concern for Mesut Ozil ahead of the World Cup, reports Mike Walters of the Daily Mirror.
The Arsenal midfielder was jeered by some fans as he was substituted during the friendly draw with Cameroon at the weekend after an inconsistent season with the Gunners following his £42.5 million switch from Real Madrid.
Ballack is quoted as saying:
It’s difficult to say where his head is going to be at the World Cup. I saw him play for the national team at the weekend and I was not surprised, not scared, but a little bit concerned, by his performances actually.
He has done well for Germany, and he played well during the qualifying campaign, but in the last few months, since his move to Arsenal, he has not been the same player, in terms of his confidence, that we used to see in the national team.
I don’t know whether the Arsenal move has affected him because he was untouchable and in Germany we still expect him to be one of our best players. But he is not a leader on the pitch, like a captain.
He is a fantastic player who still has to find his role and his responsibility for the team, and when he was criticised for his performances, he looked surprised, he looked lost.
People expect so much of him, but he can improve his body language massively because he is now at an age where he is no longer a young talent or a promising player.
As one of our best players he has to take more responsibility, and we expect more from him at the moment. Hopefully, when the World Cup starts, we will see a different player.