Martin Keown points to Mesut Ozil ‘application’ as the reason for Arsenal squad omission

Karl Matchett
·2-min read
Martin Keown (BT Sport)
Martin Keown (BT Sport)

A lack of “effort” and “application” are the reasons Mesut Ozil has been left out of the Arsenal squad, says former Gunners defender Martin Keown.

Mikel Arteta left the ex-Real Madrid man out of the 25-player lists for Premier League and Europa League games for 2020/21, along with Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Only 17 non-homegrown options could be included and, after they failed to sell the likes of Sead Kolasinac and Shkodran Mustafi this summer, the Gunners had more players than they could utilise following the signings of Thomas Partey and Gabriel Magalhaes.

Ozil and Sokratis are the casualties, with the former the high-profile omission on account of his enormous wages, reported to be in the region of £350,000 per week—easily the highest at the club.

“When you don't get named in the 25, you're basically being told, 'you're not welcome, you're not a part of the future’,” Keown said on BT Sport.

"I think it's extremely sad, a quality player, and for whatever reason, we don't really know why.

"But when someone's technically gifted like that, it has to be an application thing.

"Effort, the package, and that's a real shame that it couldn't be worked out."

Arteta has made strides in improving the team’s performance over the course of 2020, with the Gunners notably winning the FA Cup at the end of last season and starting this term in good form.

But he has constantly preached the need for hard work off the ball and high pressing, which seem to go against what he feels Ozil can provide, as well as the fact he has usually not played with a central attacking midfielder since a switch to 3-4-3.

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