Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno insists Mesut Ozil has remained “absolutely professional” and “loyal” despite being left out of Mikel Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squads this season.
Ozil, 33, has not featured for the Gunners since the beginning of March and appears unlikely to do so again after being snubbed by Arteta last month.
The German, who remains their highest earner on a whopping £350,000 per week, failed to make it into both of his 25-man squads for their two major competitions in 2020/21.
After being left in the cold, he lashed out at Arsenal and accused the club of lacking loyalty in an explosive Instagram post.
Nevertheless, he also stressed that he will continue to fight for his place at the Emirates until his eye-watering contract expires next summer.
And Leno has backed up Ozil’s statement, shedding light on his exiled team-mate’s positive mentality behind the scenes.
“Mesut is still a part of the team and trains with us,” he told German outlet BILD.
“He is absolutely professional, both on the pitch and in the changing room.
“Obviously it’s a disappointing situation for him but Mesut handles it well and is absolutely loyal.”
Ozil became a key member of Arteta’s side when he was first appointed Arsenal head coach last year, starting each of the Spaniard’s opening 10 games.
However, the former Real Madrid man fell out of favour during Project Restart and has failed to work his back into the team ever since, meaning he is likely to leave at the turn of the year.
When asked about Ozil’s situation in a recent interview with Sky Sports, Arteta said: “What I can tell you that I tried my best, I tried to give him as many opportunities as I could and that from my own side, I’ve been patient, given him opportunities and been fair.
“He’s a player that belongs to a football club, he’s been a really important player in the last few seasons.
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“I have to respect that, I’m here to make decisions, the best decisions for the team and for the club. This is what I try to do and then I have to explain them because people need the reasons and the right answers.
“I just give mine, whether they believe me or agree with me or not, there’s nothing I can do. But I have to put my decisions, with my heart and with my brain to make the right decisions that I believe are good.”
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