The 30-year-old has appeared in just 14 of the Gunners' 25 Premier League matches this term.
“He has to be on the field," Silva told talkSPORT. "A player of his calibre cannot be on the bench, in my opinion.
“People are always trying to find something to talk about Ozil – why is he not playing and when he is playing why is he not playing well?
“This kind of player, you have to give them responsibilities. What's the best way to give him responsibility? Put him on the field!
“Right now it's down to the manager. It's a good challenge for Unai.
“What's the best set up for the team? Why not find a way for the team to play and find a place for him, where he can be important for the team?
“I think for Arsenal fans its difficult to see him on the bench."