'You can’t carry anyone' - Leicester boss Rodgers backs Arteta over Ozil exclusion

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Mikel Arteta Mesut Ozil Arsenal
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The playmaker took to social media to express his anger over the decision, but Rodgers believes his colleague acted correctly

Mikel Arteta's decision to exclude Mesut Ozil from his Arsenal squad has caused a storm, but the Gunners boss has found support from Leicester City counterpart Brendan Rodgers who agrees he cannot afford to carry a player unwilling to put the work in. 

Ozil was a notable absence from the 25-player list released by Arsenal during the week for their Premier League campaign, a move that seems to spell the end of his career at the Emirates Stadium. 

The former Germany international did not take the news quietly, telling his social media followers “Loyalty is hard to come by these days" in an apparent swipe at Arteta.

Rodgers will thus not have to plan how to keep Ozil under wraps when the Foxes visit north London on Sunday, and the manager offered his backing to his opposite number over the controversial omission. 

"I’d be very much like Mikel. Ozil’s a talented player, but it depends on your structure," he told reporters when asked about his opinion on the call.

“We need every player to contribute to the defensive ­aspect of the game as well as the attacking aspect.

"The team have to operate with one brain. They have to function and work together. There will be teams where there is more freedom, but less structure.

“Ozil’s a wonderful talent and very creative, absolutely. He can make the last pass, but it’s about the team. It’s about ­marrying the individual ­qualities of the player into the team and if you feel that player can’t press the game or doesn’t want to press the game, it has an effect on your attacking structure and your defensive structure.

“If one person doesn’t do their job, then you can suffer. He’s a talent, but, as always with talent, you have to be a working talent.

“I always say to my attacking players, ‘Don’t run ­forward if you can’t run back’.

“You have to be able to do the dirty work. This is the ­highest level of the game and, at that level, you have to be able to do both sides. You think of any top team in the world and you think of some of the attacking players.

“If you look at Bayern ­Munich, the current European champions, and you look at Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller, for ­instance, the guys that play down the sides. Look at how hard they work.

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“Look at ­Liverpool with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane – the work he puts in. That’s what you have got to do. You can’t carry anyone.

“It’s OK ­having ­talent, but, at the highest level, you have to be working ­talents if you are going to play in the big games for the big teams.”

Leicester and Arsenal currently sit seventh and eighth respectively in the Premier League having both won three and lost two of their opening five games, with the Foxes ahead of Arteta's charges by virtue of their superior goal difference.

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