Mikel Arteta says Arsenal must find a way of keeping Mesut Ozil motivated despite him having been axed from the club’s Europa League squad.
Ozil, as well as Sokratis, is also set to be left out of Arteta’s 25-man Premier League squad, which has to be submitted on October 20, meaning his is facing at least three months without being able to play a competitive game.
And Arteta - who told both men about his decision face to face - says he and his coaching staff must ensure Ozil and Sokratis remain switched on enough to still play an important role behind the scenes.
“It is then down to us too to find ways to motivate those players,” said the Spaniard. “I don’t think age is a big concern.
“When you are young and you have to accept a decision like that it is really tough because you want to see your future building and evolving and it is a big stone in your way.
“But it is about how you react every time to disappointments and try to look at the overall picture and try to make the right decisions.”
Arteta added: “I wanted to tell them face to face before releasing the squad.
“I explained the reason why and it was really difficult for me to tell them that, but this is the restriction and rules and they have to respect that decision and try to train the best possible way, help the team they can in that moment and see what happens in December.”
The omission of Ozil from Arsenal’s Europa League has generated lots of headlines, with several pundits and observers having their say on the decision.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said that Arsenal must find a way of getting the German involved again and also stated his belief that playmaker’s like Ozil are being ‘kicked out’ of football because of the way the game has evolved in recent years.
Asked if he agreed with that assessment, however, Arteta was not so sure.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Obviously you have to go very much individually and is it a player that is very highly technically but nothing else or is a very complete player and brings a lot of things to the team? I don’t know.
“We play with a lot of offensive players in our team. We have a lot of talented players as well. But you have to find a way to fit him in and they have to create a cohesion around the team to make the team function in the best possible way.
“This is our job and what we are trying to do. With all the players we have to manage and coach them and try to adapt them into our systems or adapt our system to the players. We have to try to find the best possible performances.”
Arteta added: “Mesut has shown over the years that he has much more to offer than that [just technique].
“I don’t like to talk just individually but when you have the career like he has, you have to have many more things to do that.
“When you have been German player of the year, when you have won the World Cup, big tournaments, you have won a lot of big trophies with big teams, it is much more than just having one quality.”