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Bernd Leno has jumped to the defence of Mesut Ozil, insisting the Arsenal outcast is "absolutely loyal" and "still a part of the team".
The former Germany international hasn't played for the Gunners since March, and was left out of Mikel Arteta's latest Premier League and Europa League squads, despite being in peak physical condition.
A man once revered as one of the finest players in Europe has seemingly been reduced to little more than a social media cheerleader at Arsenal, but he has pledged to continue fighting for a place in the team while insisting that London "still feels like home" .
Although it has been suggested that Ozil's perceived unenthusiasticattitude and sub-par work rate have been the main reasons behind his recent omission, Leno is adamant that he has always been fully committed to the collective cause at the Emirates.
The German goalkeeper has been impressed with how the experienced schemer has dealt with his situation, and still sees him as a valuable member of the squad regardless of whether or not he ever plays for the club again.
"Mesut is still a part of the team and trains with us," Leno told BILD .
"He is absolutely professional, both on the pitch and in the dressing room.
"Obviously it's a disappointing situation for him, but Mesut handles it well and is absolutely loyal."
Ozil will be absent once again when Arsenal resume their latest Premier League campaign away at Leeds United on Sunday afternoon.
Arteta's men will be looking to get back to winning ways at Elland Road after suffering a surprise 3-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa before the international break.
That result left the Gunners down in 11th in the early top-flight standings, with sixpoints separating the north Londoners and leaders Leicester after eight fixtures.