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Mesut Ozil is already fighting to save his Arsenal career under Unai Emery, according to Gary Neville.
Following a difficult World Cup campaign, which culminated in his decision to retire from international football, Ozil was given the boost of being handed extra responsibility by Arsene Wenger’s successor after being named as one of the club’s five captains for the new season.
Ozil, however, flattered to deceive in Arsenal’s opening weekend defeat against Manchester City, after which he was told to up his work rate by Emery in his pre-match press conference ahead of last Saturday’s London derby against Chelsea.
The 29-year-old failed to heed the warning and was taken off midway through the second half when the score was still locked at 2-2 and Neville believes Emery’s decision confirms he will refuse to indulge the club’s top earner.
‘Mesut Ozil, he can’t press from the front, so he’s basically got to give him an opportunity, give him enough rope to see what he’s going to do with it,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘The reality of it is he said to Mesut Ozil in the lead up to the second game you’ve got to work harder. ‘That’s the first time I’ve publicly heard anyone call Mesut Ozil out and that’s after one game.
‘Second game he hooks him and subs him. He’s working him out. He’s saying if you don’t want to press, if you don’t want to do what I’m saying you’ll be out of the team. He’s working out those players.
‘The last thing he should do in my opinion with my experience, which was a bad one, is adapt and change because the players will walk all over him.’