Arsene Wenger has been spending the World Cup doing a bit of punditry for Bein Sports, although he is in Moscow rather than hearing his voice sloshing around Keys and Gray's echo chamber in Qatar.
The erstwhile Arsenal manager has rationalised Ozil's non-performance at this World Cup, as his former player continues to be scapegoated in Germany for their pitiful World Cup exit.
Ozil was one of myriad Germany players to stink out the World Cup, but he has been the member of Die Mannschaft to have been stiffed by the general public. Criticism has reached the stage where Ozil's father believes he should quit the national team, comments made after German team manager Oliver Bierhoff admitted that Ozil perhaps shouldn't have been included in the World Cup squad at all.
Ozil has been a lightning rod for criticism since he and Ilkay Gundogan posed for a picture alongside Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, but Wenger jumped to his defence on television this week.
I know Ozil well, he’s an exceptional football player but him and Gundogan suffered from what happened before the World Cup.
They have been vindicated in Germany when Ozil is a guy who needs support. He doesn’t need controversy. When I watched him play I could feel that there were situations in the game where he could have moved forward, progressed, played more vertically.
He played for security and I was thinking ‘come on, that’s not the real Ozil I know, the guy who can kill’. He did play alright but I think he didn’t play with complete freedom, he played a little bit with the handbrake and Gundogan didn’t play at all, and Gundogan is a great player.