Unai Emery has challenged Mesut Ozil to prove he is consistently reliable, adding that the German holds the keys to his own future.
Ozil has been the subject of much speculation this season, with many rumours suggesting Emery has not been impressed with his work rate. He has started just 13 league matches all season, with injuries reportedly preventing him from enjoying an extended run in the first team.
'When you start supporting a football club, you don't support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.' 🙏🏼 || #DennisBergkamp pic.twitter.com/kKM8kDhm8T— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) February 15, 2019
When asked whether Ozil will be given the chance to salvage his Arsenal career, Emery insisted that it is simply up to the midfielder to prove himself. He is quoted by The Telegraph as saying: “Firstly, the key is in his hands.
"And he is working very well this week. I ask him in our conversations to be consistent, to be available for training.
“When you can train with regularity and consistency you can help us in the games. Now I think this week is good for all the players because we are in an important moment for the season.
“I am looking at him and he is training like we want. I know he wants [to play]. But he needs to be consistent, to be available for training, for the matches. Without the injuries, without being sick. Like that, I think we can see the best Mesut with us.”
Emery was speaking ahead of Arsenal's Europa League meeting with BATE Borisov on Thursday. The Gunners, who were without Ozil, fell to a shock 1-0 defeat in the first leg, as they struggled to break down the resilient side from Belarus.
Many have called for Emery to reinstate Ozil to the lineup for the second leg of the fixture, given Ozil's status as one of the Premier League's finest creative midfielders.
The German has seen just 102 minutes of action since the end of 2018, with a knee injury said to be preventing him from taking to the field. He recovered to face Cardiff City in late January, but has since been relegated to the bench and did not even make the matchday squad to face Huddersfield Town in early February.