Ozil's claims of racism 'exaggerated', says Germany boss

By Mutala Yakubu
Mesut Ozil said his treatment made him
Mesut Ozil said his treatment made him "no longer want to wear the German national team shirt"

Germany manager Joachim Low says Mesut Ozil's claims of racism within the national team are "exaggerated".

Arsenal midfielder Ozil quit international football after the World Cup in Russia citing the "racism and disrespect" he faced over his Turkish roots.

"His claims of racism are exaggerated," said Low.

"Within my team during my time here, there has been not even a hint of racism."

Defending champions Germany failed to progress beyond the group stage in Russia and Gelsenkirchen-born Ozil, a third-generation Turkish-German, said he received hate mail and threats, and was blamed for the early exit.

Before the World Cup, the 29-year-old had been criticised after being photographed alongside Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan with then Germany team-mate Ilkay Gundogan.

Low said: "My only intention was to prepare best for the World Cup. This issue also cost us energy because it was always there.

"It is of course no excuse for our performance. That was not the reason."

He added: "The player has not called me. In the past that was the case when players retired [from the national team].

"Mesut decided on a different path. I repeatedly tried reaching him via message or phone but that was not possible. I have to accept that."

Ozil was a key member of his country's 2014 World Cup-winning side under Low, winning 92 caps in total and being voted the national team's player of the year five times since 2011 by fans.

Sane recalled after missing World Cup

Low was speaking while announcing his Germany squad for the Uefa Nations League opener against France on 6 September and a friendly against Peru three days later.

Manchester City winger Leroy Sane has been recalled, along with Nils Petersen and Jonathan Tah, while 19-year-old Kai Havertz, 21-year-old Thilo Kehrer and 25-year-old Nico Schulz have been included for the first time.

Sane was a surprise omission from Germany's final World Cup squad after being named the Premier League's young player of the year as Manchester City won the title.

Low has omitted 2014 World Cup winner Sami Khedira from his latest squad but Sane's City team-mate Gundogan and Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger keep their places.

"Experience is a very important foundation even for a new start," said Low. "And young, dynamic hungry players can help us in the important tasks ahead of us."

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Germany squad: Neuer, Ter Stegen, Boateng, Ginter, Hector, Hummels, Kehrer, Kimmich, Rudiger, Schulz, Sule, Tah, Brandt, Draxler, Goretzka, Gundogan, Havertz, Kroos, Muller, Petersen, Reus, Sane, Werner.

Source: BBC