Freddie Ljungberg: I wanted to make stance on Mesut Ozil

Ljungberg on Ozil: "Mesut was injured, but I would not have picked him for the squad because I want to make a stance that it's not what I accept from an Arsenal football player. That's my decision."

Image: Mesut Ozil did not feature against Everton at Goodison Park

Interim Arsenal boss Freddie Ljungberg has criticised Mesut Ozil's behaviour after his substitution against Manchester City at the Emirates last weekend.

The German playmaker kicked his gloves after being removed during the second half of Sunday's 3-0 defeat to the Premier League champions

Mesut Ozil of Arsenal kicks a water bottle as he is subbed as Interim Manager of Arsenal, Freddie Ljungberg looks on during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. 0:37
Mesut Ozil reacted angrily to being substituted in Arsenal's Premier League game against Man City

As a result, Ljungberg - who took temporary charge of Arsenal for the last time in Saturday's goalless draw at Everton - said even if Ozil had been fit, he would still have left the player out of the visitors' matchday squad at Goodison Park.

The Swede explained why he made that choice after the match.

"For me, I got asked after the game about Mesut," he said. "He walked off the pitch [in the Man City game] and then kicked his gloves. The fans were not happy.

"I got asked about it and said, 'At Arsenal, that's not how we behave and not what we do'. I stand by that. Mesut was injured, but I would not have picked him for the squad because I want to make a stance that it's not what I accept from an Arsenal football player.

"That's my decision. I won't make the decisions again, but that's what I think."

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Ljungberg proud of Arsenal's young stars

Ljungberg - who had new manager Mikel Arteta watching from the stands at Goodison - also selected Arsenal's youngest starting XI in a Premier League match since May 2011.

"I think we have a lot of talent, but from what I said before against City, I wasn't happy with the effort we put in," said the caretaker Arsenal boss.

"We played a top team and of course they're very good, but you still need to run and you need to put in an effort.

preview image 2:08
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the goalless draw between Everton and Arsenal in the Premier League

"What I put on here today, I know they're young and don't have any experience - some even made their Premier League debuts and we had an 18-year-old at left-back who's a winger - but they did really, really well and dominated a game against Everton away from home. We, as a club, should be very proud of that."

Despite Arteta's appointment, Ljungberg also confirmed Arsenal want him to remain at the Emirates this season.

"The club has told me they want me to stay so I will sit down with Mikel on Monday and talk to him," he said.

Interim Manager of Arsenal, Freddie Ljungberg acknowledges the fans after the Premier League match between Everton FC and Arsenal FC at Goodison Park on December 21, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom 0:46
Freddie Ljungberg says he's been asked to remain at Arsenal and will meet with new head coach Mikel Arteta to discuss his future

How do you solve a problem like Mesut Ozil?

Analysis from Sky Sports' Oliver Yew and Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol…

What do you do with a player like Mesut Ozil?

Arteta, who officially starts his new role at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, was asked about the German in his first press conference on Friday, and he gave his former team-mate a glowing reference, hinting that he could have an important role to play for the Gunners in the future.

New Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta alongside technical director Edu at Goodison Park
Image: New Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta alongside technical director Edu at Goodison Park

"He's a massive player for this football club," the Spaniard said. "I worked with him and I know when he ticks what he can bring to the team. My job is to get the best out of him, of course." However, with Ljungberg's words ringing in his ears, the Ozil situation is now one of the first tasks in his in-tray and it will have been marked as urgent by Arteta.

There is no denying his ability, but many Arsenal fans think he is a luxury the club can no longer afford. You can imagine him thriving in a winning team where he has the freedom to express himself, but he does not look like what Arsenal need at the moment.

Mesut Ozil
Image: Ozil has endured a frustrating spell at the Emirates

Ozil was clearly unhappy when he was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe after less than an hour of the 3-0 home defeat against Manchester City on Sunday. Ljungberg explained the substitution by saying he needed more energy in the team.

Arsenal cannot afford to carry any passengers and Arteta must decide, and decide quickly, whether to try and reintegrate Ozil into his side or to cut his losses on the club's highest earner."

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