Soccer

Bernd Leno lifts lid on Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil’s dressing room conduct

Bernd Leno insists Mesut Ozil is "absolutely loyal" despite being out in the cold at Arsenal.

The German has been left out of the Gunners' Premier League squad by Mikel Arteta.

He barely featured once football resumed from lockdown last season and his omission has continued into this campaign.

Arteta took the plunge and left Ozil out of his squad after the playmaker failed to secure a move away from the Emirates in the summer.

The 32-year-old has maintained he will see out his Arsenal contract, which expires at the end of this season.

Ozil's mammoth £350,000-a-week wages have long been used as a stick to beat him with, but Leno maintains he is part of the group and has not allowed his levels to drop.

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"Mesut is still a part of the team and trains with us," Leno told  BILD  .

"He is absolutely professional, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.

"Obviously it's a disappointing situation for him, but Mesut handles it well and is absolutely loyal."

The reaction to Ozil's exodus has been mixed, although several managers have backed Arteta's decision.

The Spaniard's predecessor Unai Emery also found it problematic trying to accommodate the World Cup winner.

And Arteta maintains he gave Ozil plenty of opportunities to prove his worth.

He said: "What I can tell you (is) 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. I have to respect that, I'm here to make decisions, the best decisions for the team and for the club."

Where will Arsenal finish this season? Have your say here.

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