Philipp Lahm has called criticism of Mesut Ozil ‘laughable’, saying the Arsenal playmaker is the most intelligent player in Europe.
Teammates at national level, and obviously part of the same World Cup winning side in 2014, the Bayern skipper says that all players need time to get accustomed to a new style of football as Ozil did when he came to England.
Lahm believes that we’re now seeing the best of the former Real Madrid man, and praised his on-field awareness with and without the ball.
“Mesut is probably the most intelligent player I have ever played with,” he said. “He is probably the most intelligent player in Europe today.
“Mesut sees things only he can — his vision is as good as I have ever seen. It was laughable when he was being questioned after his move to Arsenal.
“It doesn’t matter how good you are, everybody needs time to settle in a new league. Especially a league like England, where you don’t get as much time on the ball, and of course the game is a lot more physical.
“People don’t necessarily understand his game, he isn’t there to run at players or even beat them, he is far more intelligent than that.
“He finds space and creates chances for his team mates, and you only need to look at the assist table to understand there is nobody better than him at that.”
His praise was backed up by that of Arsene Wenger who backed his most expensive signing to the hilt.
“I think he’s developed himself well and has won a lot of self-belief,” he said. |The World Cup probably helped him too. Now he’s being recognised in England. Even in Germany, there was always a bit of doubt. For me he’s a super player, a big player and he has positively developed.
“He’s very intelligent and has worked really hard. I think he’s at the best age now, where you know the job, and know what’s expected. I think between 27 and 32 is the best age for a player.”
Let’s hope some of that intelligence and craft contributes to a good result for the Arsenal tonight.