Former Arsenal striker John Hartson believes Gunners midfielder Mesut Ozil needs an arm around his shoulder from boss Unai Emery to get his career back on track with the club.

Ozil made his first appearance for Arsenal for more than a month this when he came off the bench against Southampton in the Gunners’ last Premier League game and played for 20 minutes.

A lot has been made of Ozil’s current situation at the club, but Hartson believes the former Germany international just needs a cuddle and should be reintegrated back into the Arsenal line-up to add more creativity to the side.

Hartson said on talkSPORT 2's Saturday Sports Day: “I think he is the type of player who needs a cuddle. And this is coming from big bad John!

“I just think Arsenal have lacked a little bit of creativity at times and he has got it.

“We don't know the real reasons why he is out of the team.

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“I think he is quality, he is a player who can make that splitting pass at crucial moments.

“He's got a long term contract, I would give him a cuddle and try and get him back in the team.

“He is a player who can make a difference.”

Ozil had a difficult summer after Germany’s early World Cup exit, and subsequently announced his retirement from international football.

The former Real Madrid star had a good start to the season with Arsenal and was given the captain's armband in late September when the Gunners beat Leicester City.

A back injury, however, prevented Ozil from featuring in Arsenal’s first three games in December, but the German will hope to make his first league start since mid-November when the north London side face Burnley today.