5 Creative Skills That Midfielders Can Learn From Mesut Ozil
Germany's mercurial maestro Mesut Ozil is one of the most creative player's on the planet, his unbelievable vision, and ability to pick a pass, has been unparalleled in the last 12 months.
Fans of the beautiful game have a lot to look forward to, as Ozil will no doubt continue to dominate world football this season as he takes the stage in the Barclay's Premier League.
Let's examine 5 skills that make Ozil one of the best creative midfielders in the world.
1. Remarkable Technical Ability
There are few players on the world scene who have as much technical ability as Mesut Ozil, his left-foot is truly lethal, and his obvious focus on technical proficiency sets him apart from most of his peers.
His ability on the ball is astoundingly smooth and composed, and the next time you get the chance to see him play, watch how well he protects the ball by shifting it away from onrushing defenders, and into safe areas where he can afford himself the time and space to get his head up to find a teammate.
2. Fitness to Cover Tons of Ground
Although Mesut Ozil often appears to have a somewhat lethargic gait as he strolls around the pitch, and at times he's even been heavily criticized for being 'lazy', many fans and players alike would be surprised to know that Ozil often covers the most ground in a match.
His fitness levels have been outstanding this past year for Arsenal, and the work he puts in for his team is a testament to his dedication to becoming a great player. There are plenty of ways to incorporate the ball into your fitness training, and gone are the days of running mindless laps around the pitch like a chicken with your head cut-off.
Put yourself in lots of small-sided-games, and add conditions to these possession or games to goal, like minimizing the amount of touches you have, which will make you work harder off the ball, and help you gain fitness.
3. Master of Ball-Striking
There's not many better at delivering the final ball, or creating chances, than Mesut Ozil.
As mentioned above, Ozil has worked tirelessly on his craft to become an outstanding technical player and his ball-striking ability is pure class. His understanding of what weight is required for certain passes, what spin to impart on the ball, how to lead players to space, or play to the appropriate foot based on the pressure of the opponent is incredibly well-thought and calculated. He is one of the most gifted there is at airmailing the perfect pass or zipping in a laser beam along the deck.
Ozil wasn't born with this ability, no great player is, he worked, and worked, and worked a bit more, to become the player that he is today. Young midfield players must take the initiative and grab a bag of balls, head out to the pitch, and dedicate time to improving their ball-striking.
4. Incredible Vision and Reading of The Game
Ozil has the ability to see passes that other player's don't, and onlookers often have to wonder if he has a the ability to see into the future. He spots passes before the runner he's playing to even starts their run; because he reads the game at such an incredibly high level.
He knows that his passes dictate the runs his teammates make, he knows how to guide them into the right areas even when the players ahead of him aren't sure where these areas exist.
As a player, you've got to always remember to be constantly checking your shoulder, playing with your head up, and surveying what's around you, that's one of the things that makes Ozil so good, and something all young players should look to mimic.
5. Character to Defy Critics
Ozil's first season at the Emirates playing for Arsenal was quite a challenge and testing time for the former Real Madrid player, many pundits and fans alike criticized Ozil for appearing nonchalant, uncaring, and even disinterested at times.
This past season, however, Ozil came back with a vengeance and proved that he had adapted to the rigors of English football, as he challenged for the all-time single-season assist record in the Prem. If the strikers and midfielders around and in front of him had been more proficient and clinical in their finishing, Ozil could have easily provided 25 assists for his Arsenal.
Growing the character inside yourself to defy your critics, and prove them wrong, is a common theme for many of the greatest athlete's in any major sport. Never let someone put you down, and if they do, bounce back stronger, and dedicate yourself to proving them wrong.