Mesut Ozil 'Doesn't Practice a Lot,' Reveals Arsene Wenger Before Newcastle Game

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2016

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Bournemouth at the Emirates Stadium in London on December 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS

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Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil is a footballer who exudes natural ability and the German doesn’t have to work too hard to set such brilliant standards, according to his manager Arsene Wenger.

The 27-year-old has really settled in the Premier League this season. Arsenal are top of the league as we begin 2016 and Ozil has been at the crux of their excellent attacking play. Wenger revealed these qualities all seem to come pretty naturally to the midfielder, per the Arsenal website:

I gave Mesut a one-week holiday during the international break. At the moment he doesn't practice a lot, we rest him a lot between the games.

He is a guy who, once the basic fitness is there between the games, he wants to play. There are types of players, sometimes the most technical players, it looks like it demands less energy for them to play—it is just natural for them.

Arsenal's German midfielder Mesut Ozil (L) and French manager Arsene Wenger (R) speak during a team training session for the forthcoming UEFA Champions League Group F football match against SSC Napoli at Arsenal's London Colney training ground in north Lo
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When Ozil first joined the Gunners, one of the main criticisms of him was that the ferocious tempo of the English game often left him floundering. Games would pass the German by, meaning he was unable to see enough of the ball in dangerous positions to affect the game with his talent.

But after some heavy criticism, the former Real Madrid man has found his groove, with his technical excellence allowing him to pull the strings in what are so often anarchic clashes in the English game.

As we can see here courtesy of Sky Sports News HQ, Ozil is a player who loves to make chances for his team-mates:

That he doesn’t need to work that hard on his game doesn’t come as a great surprise. As Wenger noted, a select few players look more at ease with a ball at their feet than without one.

Ozil falls into that particular category, with his touch, dribbling and passing all so easy on the eye.

Ozil is one of the most natural footballers in the world.
Ozil is one of the most natural footballers in the world.ADRIAN DENNIS/Getty Images

What’s encouraging for the Gunners is that there’s now substance to match this style, too. Ozil is making decisive impacts in the final third, and he is also making these telling contributions against the top teams, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur all unable to pin him down this season.

Still, former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher feels as though there is still work for the German to do before he is compared to Arsenal greats:

Ozil has already won two FA Cups with Arsenal, starring in their 4-0 win over Aston Villa at Wembley last season. But being the driving force behind a title win would be a major achievement, especially for the Gunners, who have struggled to make that final step in previous years.

Ozil will want to sample more success with the Gunners.
Ozil will want to sample more success with the Gunners.Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Indeed, should Ozil inspire Arsenal to Premier League glory, it’d be a personal ascension mirroring that of the club. Both have previously been deemed too flimsy to stay the course of a gruelling 38-game campaign. This term, Ozil and Arsenal have an excellent chance to prove that is no longer the case.