Ozil: I’m one of world’s best

first_img He said: “The whole club can be proud to have such a fantastic manager with so much experience, playing with style and doing so many great things for 18 years here. “The boss has always blooded youngsters, and helped make them into some of the best players in the world. That’s also why I came here. I wanted to develop myself further.” Having got into the habit of lifting trophies this summer, Ozil is keen for more. “Of course Arsenal can win the Premier League,” he said. “We also want to show that we can play better in the Champions League. We have the potential to reach the final.” Mesut Ozil believes criticism of his Arsenal performances stems from high expectations borne out of being “one of the best number 10s in the world”. The Germany international struggled to live up to his £42million transfer fee after joining the Gunners from Real Madrid last season, though he did end the campaign as an FA Cup winner. That Wembley win over Hull was followed by World Cup success with his country this summer but still questions persist over whether he can impose himself in the Barclays Premier League. Ozil, though, told the Daily Telegraph: “The opinions of fans are important to me and I’m happy they have such high expectations of me. I have high expectations of myself. “I’m one of the best players in the world in that number 10 position. Fans, coaches, players and everyone knows that my best position is playmaker. It’s different playing on the left. “When I was in Madrid, I often played on the right. I enjoyed that because I’m left-footed and I was able to cut inside to give assists and get shots on target. On the left, it’s more difficult.” Manager Arsene Wenger defended the 25-year-old on Friday, likening him to a virtuoso musician and suggesting Ozil’s lack of aggression and defensive ability fuels a perception of him as ‘lightweight’. Wenger said: “People are very harsh on Ozil because he’s a player who is easy with his play. “When you watch his game back the next day you think ‘what a player’. Everything he does is intelligent and the timing of absolutely everything he does is absolutely perfect. “He’s like a guy who plays music with perfect timing. There aren’t many players like that.” Ozil is grateful for the Frenchman’s support. Press Associationlast_img read more

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Spring training is a learning experience for Angels’ young starters

first_imgGLENDALE, Ariz. >> Thursday was a rare day for the Angels. Two pitchers vying for a spot in their starting rotation started games on opposite sides of metropolitan Phoenix. Left-hander Andrew Heaney started against the Dodgers’ major-league lineup, while right-hander Nick Tropeano faced a much younger Chicago Cubs lineup in a “B” game. On paper, the results weren’t good for either pitcher.Tropeano lasted four innings and allowed eight hits and seven runs – all earned – including two home runs.Heaney retired the first four batters he faced, then ran into trouble in the second inning. He walked Scott Van Slyke, allowed back-to-back singles by Justin Turner and Andre Ethier, then served up a three-run home run to Alex Guerrero on a hanging changeup. The Dodgers tagged Heaney – whom they traded to the Angels for Howie Kendrick in December – for six runs in 3 1/3 innings. His reaction?“That’s some of the best my stuff has felt,” Heaney said. “I can’t be frustrated with that. I made some pitches, I didn’t make some pitches. Sometimes that’s how it works out.“Today was the best I’ve felt, out of the three starts I’ve made, by far.”For the Angels, it was a reminder that Heaney, 23, and Tropeano, 24, are not finished products. They won’t be once camp ends in two weeks, either. Pitching coach Mike Butcher said he’ll probably find a teachable moment for Heaney when they review video of Thursday’s game. There have been a few of those this spring. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img “It’s almost like going to school,” said Mike Scioscia, who was managing the game against the Dodgers. “You’re getting your lessons, you’re learning – hopefully improving – and you get to a certain point, you graduate and you’re ready. We all feel (Heaney) is ready for the challenge in the major leagues. He’s going to let us know.”Heaney, Tropeano and Hector Santiago are all candidates for a fifth starter’s job that will be unusually important in April. Garrett Richards won’t make his first start through the rotation as he works back from knee surgery. C.J. Wilson will be challenged to make his first start in turn, too, since he’s missed time in camp because of illness and a minor knee injury, respectively.Even though time is of the essence, Heaney isn’t focused on the competition before him.“I’d love to have great numbers but I’m going out there, trying to put my work in, feel better every single time out,” he said. “So far I feel like I’ve done that.”Special deliveryThe Dodgers will play split-squad games each of the next two days, with half the club in San Antonio, Texas, and half staying in Arizona.David Huff is scheduled to start for the Dodgers on Saturday against the Colorado Rockies in Scottsdale, with Chad Gaudin the first pitcher out of the bullpen. The two non-roster invitees could be versatile contributors at some point in the season.“Both in kind of a multi-use fashion,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Huff, obviously, being left-handed, could be a lefty, a guy with some length, could give you a couple different roles — a spot start in there if you needed that. Chad kind of the same from the right side.”Huff has an excuse if he isn’t able to start: His wife went into labor Thursday in the Phoenix area.Road trippingA group of Dodgers players, coaches, and staff flew to San Antonio on Thursday night for their two-game series at the Alamodome against the Texas Rangers. Yasiel Puig, Yasmani Grandal, Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner are among the regulars making the trip.Left-hander Erik Bedard starts Friday against Rangers right-hander Anthony Bass. Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke starts Saturday against right-hander Anthony Ranaudo.Grandal will be the designated hitter Friday, Mattingly said, while Greinke will be allowed to bat for himself Saturday. Austin Barnes and/or Shawn Zarraga will catch Bedard on Friday, while Grandal will catch Greinke on Saturday. There is no local TV or radio for either game, but the Rangers will bring a crew from Fox Sports Southwest. That telecast is available to stream live via MLB.tv.AlsoDodgers pitcher Brandon League, sidelined by a sore right shoulder, played catch in the Dodgers’ batting cage as a steady rain washed out most outdoor workouts at Camelback Ranch. … The Dodgers re-assigned right-hander Ben Rowen to their minor league camp. Rowen, who is recovering from thoracic outlet surgery, threw to live hitters in BP for the first time Wednesday. … The Dodgers have 43 players in camp. … Wilson is scheduled to start Sunday for the Angels against the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale.last_img read more

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