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Mesut Özil channels his inner Rooney to express positional frustrations

The German star is not enjoying life on the right wing.

Mesut Özil would rather not be out on the right wing.
Mesut Özil would rather not be out on the right wing.
Image: Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association Images

Mikey Stafford reports for TheScore.ie from Recife.

MESUT ÖZIL HAS expressed his frustration with playing on the right wing for Germany at the World Cup instead of his preferred position in central midfield.

The Arsenal midfielder was one of the stars of the 2010 World Cup when operating as Germany’s playmaker but four years on Bayern Munich’s Toni Kroos is preferred in the No10 position by coach Joachim Low.

While Kroos has enjoyed a couple of excellent seasons in the heart of a dominant Bayern team, Özil struggled for form during long stretches of Arsenal’s season following his surprise £42.5million switch from Real Madrid.

At both Real and his previous club Werder Bremen, Özil was averaging almost an assist every two games. While he still created nine goals and scored five in 25 Premier League starts for the Gunners, Kroos has benefited from the 25-year-old’s dip in form to become Low’s creative hub.

Özil, who started well against Ghana before fading out of the game in a frantic second half, said he would prefer to be lining up in the centre tomorrow afternoon for the Group G decider against the United States:

“Everyone knows I’m a playmaker. It is my favourite position but the coach decides on the system. Now I play on the right. I have played there lots in the past and in this position I get lots of balls that come from the right,” he said.

“I don’t have all the freedom but I am very happy with my performance. Obviously my favourite position is another one,” added Özil, who would like to add his name to the scoresheet — as he did in 2010 with a goal against Ghana.

“I can get better and improve. I am very happy with the two matches. Considering all the phases my level is very good. I need to score goals, I know what I contribute and I want to show that.”

Despite die nationalmannschaft supposedly having the most gruelling of schedules in group stages Özil was unwilling to blame any German sluggishness against Ghana on the conditions.

They have beaten Portugal in Salvador, drawn with Ghana in Fortaleza and tomorrow they will take on the United States in humid Recife.

“We knew before the World Cup that conditions would be difficult, that it is hot here. We knew the conditions would be difficult, so we prepared ourselves. We saw when we played against Ghana we were controlling the match,” he said.

Lots of European teams have left the tournament but if we consider the last two matches we have prepared ourselves very well. We were great against Portugal and deserved our victory.

“Against Ghana we made mistakes. It’s not that we weren’t fit. We did commit two mistakes but considering the whole match we can see the team is in good condition.”

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Mikey Stafford

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