Ever since he completed his move from Borussia Monchengladbach to Arsenal back in 2016, Granit Xhaka has been quite a polarizing player for most Arsenal supporters.
While he’s a clearly talented stopper in the center of the pitch and has a sweet stroke from long range with both feet, his bad temper and inconsistency have raised a lot of questions over his head.
However, Unai Emery and Arsenal players decided to name him the team’s captain going forward, a subject that has created a lot of controversies lately.
Hence, former Arsenal player Martin Keown was merciless with Emery with this decision, claiming Xhaka’s not worthy of being named team captain because of his antics and inconsistency:
“This is a massive call and I think perhaps he (Emery) has got it wrong. This is really going to divide the fans. There are times when Xhaka goes missing in midfield, he’s given penalties away… he must be an incredible character off the pitch! It’s surprising, particularly how he was booed off the pitch less than a week ago. It’s a brave decision by the manager, he’s picked him every time he’s available so he clearly believes in the player, but I’m surprised, I must say.
You need to be sure the captain is going to be in the team and he’s on borrowed time. There are others in that group, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Dani Ceballos, who are starting to progress, so if Xhaka is still going to be a permanent fixture than I’m surprised by that. I would have gone for Aubameyang, he would have been a pretty good fit. It might have given him a little more extra responsibility. He’s doing fantastically well at the moment and he’s secure in the team, he’s a regular,” Keown told TalkSPORT.
Keown went on to address Xhaka’s biggest issues as a player and claimed he wants nothing but the best out of him going forward after being handed such a huge responsibility.
“I don’t want silly, crazy tackles, I want him to sit in front of the defense, I want to be picking out those diagonal passes, I want to see him talking to players, cajoling players and in their ears. I want to see those leadership skills on the pitch, not just in the dressing room. I haven’t seen that so far. The vote on confidence, the actual armband, can do big things for you, so I hope it does that for his game,” he concluded.
Xhaka has gotten into a bit of a feud with some Arsenal fans that have booed him in the past, so he’ll have the last chance to prove that he’s worthy of a shot. He’s just 27-years-old, so he still has a lot left to give this team if he stays focused.