The evolution of Mesut Ozil
Assist leader Ozil will soon be a regular name on the scoring sheet.
Ozil initially kicked off his professional career at Schalke, featuring quite regularly in their line-up during his teenage years. Everyone could see the potential that the player had and was regarded as "the next big thing". In his time at Schalke, Ozil had a tendency to drift towards the left wing for creating space for his fellow team-mates. Ozil gained experience at the International level in the Under-21s where his spectacular performances earned him a call-up in the senior squad.
Emergence at World Stage
Ozil received his call at the senior level at the biggest stage, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Many critics would point out to the fact that it was due to an unfortunate injury to the then Germany Captain Michael Ballack that put the 21 year old midfielder in the German squad. And with Ballack out of the World Cup, very few could believe that Germany would be as strong a force as they were.
But, Ozil did not take too long to silence those critics as his wizard-like play in the number 10 position became a delight for the people to watch.
Immediately after the World Cup, top football clubs from England and Spain took note of this youngster who made Germany a more lethal weapon than they already were.
Unfortunately for most of the clubs who bid for the midfielder, the move did not go through and Ozil was picked up by Real Madrid. That is where he seemed to have developed into the midfield genius that he is today. Surrounded by some of the best attackers in the world at the Bernabeu, Ozil was regarded as the assist master for his 25 assists in his opening season which was a record across all European leagues.
As his second season was set to begin at the Bernabeu, he was handed the number 10 jersey by Coach Jose Mourinho. Although he was a rare name on the score-sheet, he was happy to get the best out of his team-mates with his un-selfish play. In regard to Ozil's magical play, critics said he could make any average striker appear World Class.
Ozil the Gunner
So far we have basically looked at Ozil as a midfielder who would seldom score. His move to Arsenal was especially highlighted due to the amount that Arsenal paid making him the most expensive signing at the club. With that big an amount, came a great responsibility on his shoulders.
He lived up to his name and reputation in his initial days at the club, but as the season unfolded some flaws emerged in the performances as he would usually not track back to help the defense. In the same period of time, one thing that most people forgot to take note of is that Ozil was scoring goals on a more regular basis.
In his first season at the Emirates he did not end with leading assists in all of Europe but he was nearing his assist tally with his scoring.
His second season had been pretty much a disaster hampered by injuries but in the recent run of form he has regained his knack of being at the right scoring positions that usually lacked in his play.
Many would say, Ozil is a kind of player whom you either play as the number 10 or not play him at all. But, such critics have now also been silenced as Ozil is well adopting to his new role or what could also be regarded as regaining his teenage game. The only difference now being, he starts on the left and moves towards the center, while in his teens he would play through the center and drift leftwards.
It is still a bit early to say that Ozil has developed perfectly for his new role at the club, as only a few matches has been witnessed wherein he has made a mark playing from the wings. But, it seems that Mr. Wenger has made it pretty clear to Ozil as to that is where he is more likely to play in the near future for the club and has to adapt in order to ensure his starting XI place, which by far Ozil seems to have understood and adapted.
Ozil is a kind of player who would almost instantaneously have an impact on how a team plays and shape its formation in the attack. He has been the catalyst for most of the attacking done for whichever team he plays.