Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has warned Germany not to expect Mesut Ozil to lead by example at the World Cup.
The Arsenal midfielder was included in Joachim Low’s 23-man squad for Russia despite missing the final three games of the Premier League.
The 29-year-old has 90 caps for Germany and won the World Cup in 2014 although when discussing Ozil’s role for his country, Ballack believes that he doesn’t show enough emotion to be counted as a leader in a talented German side.
Ahead of the reigning champions’ opening game against Mexico – which Ozil is set to start, Ballack said: “I wouldn’t count on him to be a leader. It wouldn’t help him. They tried in Germany to give him a bit more responsibility, which turns immediately into a kind of pressure for him. It doesn’t help him.
“He’s happy in his role. Sometimes he could be on another level with his technical ability but he is like he is.”
Despite some fine performances for Germany, there remains a perception that Ozil does not perform in big games. Ballack still believes that Ozil is a key player for Joachim Low in Russia as Germany attempt to defend their crown.
“There is always an up and down in his performances and it has to do with his personality,” said Ballack.
“When he scored you see he doesn’t really celebrate. He’s calm. He keeps a lot of emotions inside. It’s the same when he plays for Germany. He as these performances where you cant see him really and he’s not really fighting.
Joachim Low understands him really well. They talk. Mostly he delivers for Germany especially in tournaments. He’s playing a key role.”