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Mesut Ozil hits back at Arsenal legends who have criticised his fitness record

first_img Metro Sport ReporterThursday 17 Oct 2019 8:38 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4kShares Mesut Ozil has made just one Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season (Picture: Getty)Ozil, however, insists his reasons for missing so many games have always been genuine, while there have been many occasions where he has played through the pain barrier to play for Arsenal.‘I get really frustrated when I miss a game through illness and people question if it is genuine,’ he told The Athletic.‘Yes, it happened a few times — usually in the winter — but what am I supposed to do? If you knew me, you would know it takes a lot for me to miss a game and I have never used sickness as an excuse. Actually the opposite.‘I played many games when I was ill or had injuries. Before the Champions League game against Bayern Munich [in March 2017], I was sick and Arsene told me I was not in the squad because of that. The next morning, the guys from Arsenal called me and said, ‘Listen, you have to come to the stadium, you have to be in the squad’. Despite my illness, I joined the squad and played the last 20 minutes.‘Most players don’t play when injured or sick — it influences your game, you can’t give everything — but I was always available unless it was impossible.’Ozil also took issue with the accusation that he is only capable of showcasing his playmaking abilities against so-called lesser opposition.He added: ‘It always happens that an ex-player stands there on TV and criticises me,” he says. “Others just continue the theme and it gets in everyone’s heads.‘If we don’t do well in a ‘big’ game, it’s always my fault. If that’s true, how do you explain our results in the ‘big’ games when I wasn’t involved? There’s no real difference. I know people expect me to offer more, dictate play and make the difference — I do, too — but it’s not that straightforward.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenal‘I’m not the only player in the team and, don’t forget, some of our opponents are simply better than us. Also, what is a ‘big’ or ‘small’ game? In the Premier League, anyone can beat anyone. Look at Wolves and Norwich beating Man City, or Newcastle and West Ham beating Man United.AdvertisementAdvertisement‘So you can’t say my good performances only came in ‘small’ games because these games don’t really exist. The intensity is there in every match and often the ‘small’ teams raise their standard against the ‘big’ teams.’Will Mesut Ozil still be an Arsenal player after the January transfer window?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your resultsMORE: Mesut Ozil insists he’ll see out Arsenal contract despite struggles under Unai EmeryMORE: Sheffield United ‘fancy their chances’ in front of ‘hostile crowd’ against Arsenal, says Chris Wilder Comment Advertisement Advertisement Mesut Ozil has missed over 100 games for Arsenal through illness and injury (Picture: Getty)Mesut Ozil has hit back at his critics who claim he only performs against smaller team and have critised his fitness record.The former Germany international has missed over 100 games since his move to Arsenal six years ago from Real Madrid as a result of injury or illness.Ozil has been left out of Unai Emery’s matchday squad for the club’s last three games, while he was often omitted last season, particularly against elite opposition and difficult away matches.After he brought up an unwanted century by missing February’s fixture against BATE Borisov, Arsenal legend Martin Keown said: ‘To miss that amount of games is quite remarkable, isn’t it? 100 matches in that period. I would say that is definitely questionable. We don’t know, only the player knows.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘Is he injured, is he ill? One of the things as a player you have got to be available for selection & you want to give consistency.’ Mesut Ozil hits back at Arsenal legends who have criticised his fitness recordlast_img read more

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Rickan develops into leader following standout prep career

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Jenna Rickan finished her classes at Kenmore West Senior High School and went straight to the Blue Devils’ soccer practice. Her father then picked her up to go to her travel soccer team’s practice 45 minutes away.Depending on the season, basketball and softball practices intervened as well. Not to mention schoolwork.The busy schedule made Rickan into a focused athlete and student heading into college.“I don’t think that a lot of people understand how much sacrifice it is to play sports in high school and in college,” Rickan said. “You have to choose to go to sports or go to bed early or going out with your friends. It’s hard sometimes making a mature decision when you’re young.”Rickan was not only gifted on the pitch, but also on the hardwood and softball diamond. As a point guard and first baseman/outfielder, she set Kenmore West school records and was part of several league champions, all while being a member of the National Honor Society.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThree years into her career at Syracuse, Rickan has become a key contributor. As a junior last season, she started 17 of 18 games and stood out as one of the team’s vocal leaders on and off the field. While she may not show up on the score sheet often, SU head coach Phil Wheddon said her ball control and leadership are crucial to the team’s offense.“She’s one of those players who’s motivating and encouraging and does a lot of things off the field for the team,” Wheddon said. “She forms the team chemistry just with her personality.”The SU captain developed those characteristics during her career at Kenmore.Rickan remembers when years of hard work paid off and Kenmore’s soccer team won the sectional championship. She also played on the softball team starting in the middle of the eighth grade and was part of that season’s state championship team. And on the court, the point guard set the Blue Devils female record for most points in a career with over 1,000 points.In her senior year, she was a captain and one of the best players on all three teams. Many of her classmates believed she should play Division-II or -III college basketball, but her heart was set on soccer.And during her recruiting process, the Syracuse program felt like home.“I went and watched Syracuse play at Niagara University and, seeing them play, I knew I wanted to come here,” she said. “It was just the right fit for me.”A year later, Rickan was out on the field with the Orange. She remembers the Saturday afternoon in St. Bonaventure when she put her SU jersey on for the first time. Her family was in the stands.It felt right.The bond she now shares with her teammates is evident. She and fellow senior Alyscha Mottershead are so close that they can communicate on the field without words.“I think we kind of just look at each other and know that we have to start encouraging our other players or using our vocals as much as possible to try to bring the game back into our direction,” Mottershead said.Rickan is now focused on her career at SU and the team’s pursuit to rise in the Big East rankings, but she’ll never forget the memories she made in her hometown.“It’s really cool to be a part of the history of your high school,” said Rickan. “To go back and see your name on a plaque, it’s just really cool. I look back and I don’t know how I did it.” Comments Published on September 5, 2012 at 12:27 am Contact Josh: jmhyber@syr.edulast_img read more