MOSCOW — Julian Draxler says it’s “not true” that his Germany teammates Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan are feeling isolated in the squad following controversy over their photo with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Arsenal’s Ozil and Manchester City’s Gundogan, who are both of Turkish descent, posed with Erdogan during the Turkish president’s visit to Britain last month.
Gundogan, who gave Erdogan a shirt with a message “to my revered president,” was jeered by fans during last week’s friendly win over Saudi Arabia.
Draxler says reports “that Mesut Ozil was not up to his best or that Ilkay Gundogan was a bit subdued, that’s not true.” He’s praised Ozil as “probably our most creative player on the pitch and so I’m sure that Mesut oezil will be there when we need him.”
Germany starts its title defense against Mexico in Moscow on Sunday.