–Says Gunners star can be one of the best in the world
Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka believes Mesut Ozil ‘can be one of the best in the world’ and suggests that a pressurised management style is the most effective way to harness the player’s form.
Karanka knows Ozil well from the pair’s time together at Real Madrid, where he was Jose Mourinho’s assistant and Ozil was a linchpin in midfield.
Since moving to Arsenal in 2013 for £42.5million, however, the German playmaker has tended to polarise opinion among pundits and the Gunners’ support.
But, with three goals in his last four appearances for Arsenal after battling to return from a knee injury, the Ozil of old could be back on song.
Karanka certainly thinks so and ahead of Middlesbrough’s clash with Arsenal in the FA Cup fifth-round on Sunday he told reporters, ‘Yes unfortunately for us he’s at his best now.
‘He can be one of the best in the world, his left foot is amazing.’
And Karanka also feels that pressure is the key to Ozil sustaining this level of play.
In light of Ozil’s more sketchy runs of form last season, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger might be accused of having been too lax with him.
Karanka explained at his press conference that Ozil was constantly pushed by Mourinho at Real Madrid.
‘He needs a manager who puts pressure on him because he’s the kind of player who is maybe a little bit relaxed when the manager is not behind him, and with us he was always perfectly good. Jose was always behind him.’