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Rodgers backing Arsenal boss Arteta in Ozil blow-up: Don't run ­forward if you can't run back!

Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers has backed Mikel Arteta in his stand-off with axed midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Rodgers is standing squarely behind his fellow boss at Arsenal as the row rumbles on about the ­former Germany star.

Asked whether there was a sadness that the 32-year-old was not ­featuring, the Foxes boss said: “Not really, I'd be very much like Mikel.

“Ozil's a talented player, but it depends on your structure.

“We need every player to contribute to the defensive ­aspect of the game as well as the attacking aspect.

“The team have to operate with one brain. They have to function and work together.

“There will be teams where there is more freedom, but less structure.

“Ozil's a wonderful talent and very creative, absolutely. He can make the last pass, but it's about the team. It's about ­marrying the individual ­qualities of the player into the team and if you feel that player can't press the game or doesn't want to press the game, it has an effect on your attacking structure and your defensive structure.

“If one person doesn't do their job, then you can suffer.

“He's a talent, but, as always with talent, you have to be a working talent."

Rodgers famously chewed out Raheem Sterling when he was boss at Liverpool in front of a crew filming a ­documentary.

And, after lifting Leicester into the Champions League placings last term and with a string of ­successes behind him at Celtic, Rodgers has clear views.

He added: “I always say to my attacking players, 'Don't run ­forward if you can't run back'.

“You have to be able to do the dirty work. This is the ­highest level of the game and, at that level, you have to be able to do both sides. You think of any top team in the world and you think of some of the attacking players.

“If you look at Bayern ­Munich, the current European champions, and you look at Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller, for ­instance, the guys that play down the sides. Look at how hard they work.

“Look at ­Liverpool with Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane – the work he puts in. That's what you have got to do.

“You can't carry anyone.

“It's OK ­having ­talent, but, at the highest level, you have to be working ­talents if you are going to play in the big games for the big teams."

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Paul Vegas

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