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Arsenal's players are fully behind Mesut Ozil despite his ongoing exile from Mikel Arteta's first-team plans.
That's according to Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who says Ozil is still part of the team despite the former Germany international having been left out of Arsenal's Europa League and Premier League squads.
Ozil has not played for the Gunners since March 7, and cannot now turn out until January at the earliest. Arteta said on Wednesday that the midfielder had not done enough on a daily basis to force himself into his thinking.
Earlier, Ozil had released a statement criticising Arsenal for not reciprocating the loyalty he felt he'd shown the club over the past eight seasons.
But Maitland-Niles said Arsenal's players are taking no part in the spat between Ozil and the club as they focus on Thursday's Europa League opener against Rapid Vienna.
Mesut Ozil slammed Arsenal for what he perceived as a lack of loyalty
(Image: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
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Ainsley Maitland-Niles explains how Mikel Arteta convinced him to stay at Arsenal
"The club's behind Mesut, we're a team, that's always going to be the case until Mesut decides to make his decision and what he wants to do," Maitland-Niles told a news conference.
"Ultimately, we're focused on the game for now. Then when we get back to the training ground we can talk about if he wants to go by as a team.
"We're focused on the game as of now. And when we do finish the game and the three points are secured, then we can focus on going back to the training ground and solving the situation as a team.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles says Arsenal's players are staying out of the spat between Ozil and the club
Asked about the decision to omit Ozil from the Europa League and Premier League squads, Maitland-Niles replied: "That's something you're gonna have to ask the club.
"Us as players, we haven't really thought about it much.
"We've literally been on the go the whole day. We've had our training session and took our flight here, so we haven't had much time to sit down and process anything as a team."
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