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Ozil Praised by Neuer

Submitted by gulgol on Sun, 01/12/2020 - 06:00

German World Cup winner Manuel Neuer has spoken positively about compatriot Mesut Ozil, who retired from national team duties shortly after the 2018 World Cup. The Arsenal midfielder was heavily criticised after Germany’s shock group stage exit at the previous global tournament and that contributed towards his retirement from international football.

When pressed on the Ozil situation, the Bayern Munich captain said that he had a great experience of playing with the Gunners star, right from the academy days at Schalke 04. He added that his compatriot always wanted to have fun and play football, and it was disappointing with the way things paved off the field for him.

He told: "We had great years together. What he always wanted was to have fun and play football. The things that happened off the pitch were not always fortunate. Criticism is part of our profession, we ourselves are our harshest critics. The coaches deal with it in a much more relaxed way these days than in the first years. There are still rules on how to handle it as a professional. Every player knows that he has to take responsibility himself."

Germany have gone through a major transition since the World Cup exit at the group stage last summer and a number of young players such as Serge Gnabry and Kai Havertz have made the cut for the national team. On the other hand, manager Joachim Loew has axed the likes of Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng, and Mats Hummels from national team duty and he has clearly stated that the trio won’t be picked for the team in the future.

With just a couple of years remaining to the 2022 World Cup, Germany are still under a transitional phase and the Euro 2020 tournament over the summer should give a clear idea whether they can compete with Europe’s elite. England are presently regarded as the favourites for the continental competition between June and July this year.