Mesut Ozil has complete trust Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger can help make him a better player. Press Association Wenger, however, retains complete faith in the £42.5million midfielder, who is in no doubt he is at the right club and under the right manager to move his game forwards. Speaking to Esquire magazine, Ozil said: “He (Wenger) knows what he wants and I know he can bring me a step forward; he trusts me in that way and I trust him, completely. “For a team, it (a trophy) is the biggest thing to get and we got it (last season with the FA Cup), but as a player, there are other things – being the best player in the world, other cups, the Champions League. “For now, I am not making any plans for after my career. I am just really happy to be here.” Ozil will not let the constant debate over his consistency cloud his focus. The 26-year-old added: “I have been in this business so long now, I have been a professional since I was 16, 17. “I don’t care what the press thinks about me as football changes from day to day. “You can play well one day and badly the next. I’m used to it.” The Gunners’ club-record signing is currently recovering from a knee injury suffered at the start of October, and is not expected to feature again until early 2015. Ozil, who helped Germany win the World Cup last summer, has often been criticised for perceived inconsistent displays, with questions raised over whether the former Real Madrid playmaker could cope under the physical demands of the Barclays Premier League. Arsenal will resume their Premier League campaign on Saturday at home to Manchester United. The Gunners are down in sixth place and in need of a response having lost 2-1 at Swansea before the international break, which followed on from the draw against Anderlecht in the Champions League when they threw away a 3-0 advantage. England manager Roy Hodgson has allayed fears over the fitness of Danny Welbeck. The Arsenal forward, signed on deadline day from United, was substituted during the second half of the friendly against Scotland in Glasgow, but only as a precaution after a “slight stiffness” in his hamstring. Welbeck has scored five times in 12 appearances for the Gunners. Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta believes the 23-year-old can continue to grow in his new surroundings. “Danny is the perfect fit for us, [with] the kind of character he is and the kind of player he is,” Arteta said on Arsenal Player. “Personally I have been surprised by his technical capacity, the way he understands the game, his work rate. “I rate him more now than I used to and this is a good sign because normally the opposite is true when you watch a player on a daily basis. I’m glad he is with us. “He has got everything here to become one of the best strikers in the Premier League.”
LEGENDARY JOCKEY RAY YORK, WHO WON THE 1954 KENTUCKY DERBY AT AGE 20 ABOARD SANTA ANITA-BASED DETERMINE, DIES AT 86ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2020)–Ray York, who gained international fame by winning the 1954 Kentucky Derby at the age of 20 in 1954, has died at age 86 due to the effects of a one-year battle with pneumonia at an extended care facility near Bakersfield, CA.“Ray passed away peacefully this past Sunday,” said Michael McKay, York’s longtime girlfriend. “He loved racing so much and all the people he had known over the years, but we haven’t been able to visit Santa Anita for several years due to his health,” she added. “We had a great time together and we traveled quite a bit. We went to China, Ireland, Italy, Nova Scotia, Alaska and we visited England three times. Ray was so much fun, always laughing and always talking.”York, who was born on Nov. 23, 1933 in Gloucaster, MA, was gregarious and full of energy well into his 80s. He won major stakes on both coasts and was considered one of the top riders of his era, which included the likes of Bill Shoemaker, Johnny Longden, Eddie Arcaro, Donald Pierce, Bill Hartack, Milo Valenzuela and others.Determine, a diminutive grey colt by Alibhai, also won the 1954 Santa Anita Derby and 1955 Strub Stakes with York and he would go on to a successful career as a stallion, siring the winner of the 1962 Kentucky Derby, Decidedly.Affectionately nicknamed “Walkie-Talkie” by fellow jockey Angel Valenzuela in the early 1950s, York was the life of any party and remained a great interview long after his official retirement as an active rider in 1992.“In his day, Ray could ride with anybody,” said trainer Clay Brinson from his Turf Paradise base in Phoenix, AZ. “Ray had great instincts and he was a big-money jock, no question. As a kid, he was one of the guys I looked up to and learned from. I rode with him in California and Chicago and he won a lotta races for my dad (trainer Ross Brinson). Ray had a great personality and he gave everybody their money’s worth, owners, trainers and the people betting on the horses.”A winner of 3,082 races, York was recognized for his professionalism on and off the track by the racing press, when in 1955, they voted him the winner of Santa Anita’s prestigious George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award.With his first major Santa Anita stakes win coming aboard the Jimmy Jordan-trained Phil D. in the 1952 San Antonio Handicap, York would go on to win 26 added money events at The Great Race Place, putting him 34th on the track’s all-time list.York won his second Santa Anita Derby in 1959, aboard the Bob Wheeler-trained Hall of Fame filly Silver Spoon, with whom he also won that year’s Santa Anita Oaks.A winner of the 1964 Hollywood Gold Cup aboard the Wally Dunn-conditioned Colorado King, York was a three-time leading rider at Del Mar (1957, 62 & 64) and would shift his tack to Turf Paradise in the late sixties, where he won seven races in one day in 1970.Close friends with trainer Henry Moreno, who also passed away on Sunday, York suited up one final time to ride Moreno’s 4-year-old gelding Culebra to a 10th place finish in a claiming race at Santa Anita on Jan. 13, 2000, thus becoming the first jockey to ride in seven decades.A longtime resident of Kern County, CA, Ray York is survived by his girlfriend Michael McKay, and three children from his first marriage, daughter, Bonnie (Wunner) and two sons, Ray Jr. and Jeff York. Funeral services for York will be held at Erickson and Brown Funeral Home in Taft, CA, Saturday, March 7 at 1 p.m.