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It's time Arsenal's stuttering Ozil was replaced in the national team, claim German legends Matthaus and Netzer

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 by Dailymail

Germany World Cup winners Lothar Matthaus and Gunter Netzer have made public criticisms of troubled Arsenal star Mesut Ozil this week.

With four months to go until the World Cup in Brazil, the pressure on troubled Arsenal star Ozil is growing in Germany.

His place in the starting XI has been almost a given over the last four years, but with his dip in form for Arsenal this year, many are wondering whether he will be able to retain it in Brazil.

Under fire: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil has been criticised for recent performances by two German football legends

Out of the firing line: Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger (centre) has limited Ozil to a substitute's role recently

Concerns: Both Lothar Matthaus (left) and Gunter Netzer doubt Ozil's mental capacity to perform at top level

Speaking to kicker magazine, both Matthaus and Netzer voiced concerns over the player’s mentality.

Former Gladbach and Real Madrid playmaker Netzer argued that the pressure at Arsenal was not helping Özil.

'The leading role doesn’t suit Ozil, and you don’t do him any favours expecting him to lead a team. He doesn’t have the personality to want to be dominant,' he said.

Matthaus, meanwhile, was even blunter. The man who led Germany to World Cup glory in 1990 went as far as to suggest that Ozil would be kept out of the side by the German midfielders currently enjoying success at Bayern, with Toni Kroos getting a special mention.

'If Ozil is at his best, he can help, but the recent performances have raised doubts. If I compare him to those in Bayern’s midfield, I think I’d rather have someone like Toni Kroos in the side than Ozil.'

Misfire: Ozil missed a crucial penalty in Arsenal's Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich last month

Clash: The game also saw Ozil's Arsenal team-mate Mathiey Flamini criticise the German for a lack of effort

Other examples: Gunners captain Per Mertesacker blasts Ozil for not acknowledging the fans after a defeat

With Joachim Low’s squad plagued with injury problems, the expectation on big-name players such as Ozil is set to be even larger than expected when it comes to the World Cup.

Though he enjoys the public support of Germany coach Low, there are many in Germany who share Matthaus’ and Netzer’s concerns over Ozil’s mentality.

Former international Uwe Bein, for example, has criticised the Arsenal player’s body language.

Alternative: Matthaus believes Germany would be better served were Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos to play

Loyal: Germany boss Joachim Low has rebuffed suggestions from observers to take Ozil out of the team

Happy memories: Ozil's blistering form for Germany during the 2010 World Cup seems a lifetime ago

Mental strength is certainly something that the likes of Netzer and Matthaus never lacked in their playing careers. Matthaus' propensity to rant at perceived injustices remains notorious, while Netzer was famous for his individualistic approach to the game.

During the 1973 DFB Pokal Final, Netzer’s last game in a Gladbach shirt, he was left on the bench by coach Hennes Weisweiler.

With the score at 1-1, Netzer famously substituted himself on in extra time to score the winning goal.

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