‘Take responsibility’: Martin Keown sends message to Arsenal’s forgotten defender
Martin Keown offers advice to Arsenal's out-of-favour defender Shkodran Mustafi
Martin Keown has urged Shkodran Mustafi to “take responsibility” for his mistakes as the Arsenal star looks to win back his spot under Mikel Arteta.
The German defender has been out of favour at the north London side following a disappointing end to the 2018-19 season and an equally poor start to the 2019-20 campaign.
Arteta’s predecessor preferred Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz to Mustafi in the initial months of the current season before Rob Holding replaced the Brazilian centre-half.
However, Arteta’s appointment as Emery’s successor has offered Mustafi a lifeline to save his Gunners career despite transfer speculation surrounding the German.
Mustafi opened up about how social media abuse has affected his performances for Arsenal this week as he bids to return to Arteta’s starting XI.
While Keown was glad to hear Mustafi speak so honestly about his struggles, the Arsenal legend urged the number 20 to face up to his mistakes that he has made.
“This is a good move from Arsenal, but he has made an alarming amount of mistakes and he’s now got to come back fighting,” Keown told talkSPORT.
“You usually do that on the pitch, but he can’t get onto the pitch, so it’s almost like he’s doing that in a different way.
“Maybe they’re making a pathway for him to come back, like they did with Xhaka, so that’s a good move.
“But he basically needs to understand the game better. He can never allow what happened at the beginning of this season and last season to happen again.
“You’ve got to take responsibility because eventually you become the victim because everyone points at you.”
Mustafi could secure a place in the Arsenal team due to their injury crisis at the back leaving Arteta short on defensive options.
The Gunner star moved to Arsenal from La Liga side Valencia in a £35m deal in the 2016 summer transfer window.
Mustafi has netted nine times in 125 games in all competitions for Arsenal.