Neville: Ozil must be more like Park Ji-Sung

Park Ji Sung

Former Manchester United man Gary Neville has picked out an old teammate who Arsenal's Mesut Ozil should try to emulate.

Gary Neville was commentating for SkySports during Arsenal's defeat to Bayern Munich, and had to talk through Mesut Ozil and Arsenal's game unfolding.

It was after the game that he discussed the German playmaker, arguing he needs to work far harder for his team if he is not to be considered an expensive luxury when it comes to crunch encounters home and abroad.



South Korean midfielder Park Ji-Sung became a go-to player in big matches for Sir Alex Ferguson, his limitations offset by his tireless work rate and superb team ethic, even popping up with crucial goals, regularly against Arsenal.

The assertion Ozil needs to work harder is clear. But can he do it?

Well actually he was not too far off when it comes to effort, despite the appearance his languid style and body language shows.

He actually covered the third highest distance on the pitch against Bayern, more than any player from the German side. 


Ozil also made three interceptions in the match; the joint highest of any Arsenal player, showing that he did not give up as has been portrayed.

Here are a few defensive stats from the Premier League season, with Ozil compared to playmakers Coutinho, Oscar and David Silva:

NameTeamBall RecoveryInterception WonWon TackleAppsMins
Philippe Coutinho Liverpool 97 11 33 21 1,604
Mesut Özil Arsenal 95 4 13 21 1,810
Oscar Chelsea 87 5 45 24 1,602
David Silva Man City 69 9 20 16 1,341

Ozil ranks at the top when it comes to resuming possession for his side and picking up loose balls, but his work rate elsewhere is low. He has made just four interceptions in the Premier League all season, remarkable when you consider he made three against Bayern.

He has also made less tackles than the next lowest of his peers, David Silva, who has played five fewer games. Clearly if he wishes to follow Neville's recommendation, he has a fair amount of improving to do. 

The problem is while Neville insists he works hard defensively, he will ultimately be judged on his attacking contribution - of which all he was able to deliver was a won, and missed penalty.

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