'Elegant Ozil is a huge talent' - Misunderstood Arsenal star is like De Bruyne, says Gundogan

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The Manchester City midfielder played alongside Ozil with Germany and believes criticisms of his attitude are wide of the mark

Mesut Ozil may be enduring a tough time at Arsenal, but Manchester City rival Ilkay Gundogan considers his fellow German to be “elegant” and a “huge talent” who is misunderstood by many.

Questions continue to be asked of a World Cup winner at Emirates Stadium amid a testing campaign which has seen him fall out of favour under Unai Emery.

It has been suggested that his days may be numbered in north London, with a summer transfer being mooted after seeing the January window slam shut.

Gundogan, who is a former international colleague of Ozil, is baffled by the criticism being aimed at a fellow countryman, with it his opinion that a player proven at the very highest level remains among the best in the world.

The City star told Sport360 when asked about Ozil’s current situation and how he compares to Kevin De Bruyne: “Both are game changers. Kevin is a little bit more aggressive in his style and, at Mesut’s best, both are on a similar level.

“I think people always criticise Mesut because they think his attitude on the pitch is not a good one, that he doesn’t care that much.

“But I think people just struggle to accept that you can have the more emotional kind of players, the more aggressive ones and you have players like him, you know, that need maybe this calmness for their game.

“It looks a bit more elegant and slow, but believe me it’s so difficult to defend against these kind of players. They make everything look so easy and I think sometimes you forget to appreciate these kind of things.

“Obviously we always watch games and, even me, we always think we know better. But on the pitch it’s always a different story.

“A player like him, with his huge talent, I don’t think it just surprises just me, but a lot of people, that he doesn’t play regularly.”

Mesut Ozil Ilkay Gundogan Germany 2018

Gundogan added: “Of course I have sympathy for him. Also, because I know the more regularly you play, the easier it is because you have the rhythm and just keep going and you don’t think about certain things too much.

“My experience from the last couple of years at City is that you get your game time and then the next few games there’s always someone coming in with similar quality, ridiculous quality, and our manager in these kind of cases has a very tough job.

“He always has to choose who to pick and try to divide game time throughout the whole squad. That’s a very tough thing to do. In a team like Manchester City, Arsenal, and other big clubs, it’s quite difficult just to have the same 11 players starting every week

“From my own experience, the more you play, back-to-back games, the better you feel, with more self confidence and rhythm.”

Gundogan may get the chance to line up against Ozil on Sunday if he is recalled to the Arsenal side for a heavyweight Premier League clash at Emirates Stadium.

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That contest is set to take place with talks ongoing regarding an extension to the contract of a key playmaker in City’s ranks.

Quizzed on his future, a man already tied to terms through to 2020 said: “I’m happy where I am right now. I enjoy my football, I don’t think in a sporting way there is any other place to be right now.

“But I still have 18 months to go. I’m 28 now, not the youngest anymore, but I don’t think there is any pressure, not for the club, not for me to rush it.”

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