Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed the reasons behind his decision to name Granit Xhaka as the club’s new permanent captain.
The Swiss international has worn the armband during the opening weeks of the new season and has now been appointed captain on a permanent basis, replacing Laurent Koscielny who left the club to join Bordeaux this summer.
Xhaka’s appointment as captain is likely to divide the club’s fanbase, with the midfielder having come under-fire for a series of below-par performances this season.
The 27-year-old was jeered by sections of the club’s support following his substitution in the win over Aston Villa last weekend, however Emery has defended the player and backed Xhaka to thrive in his role as leader.
“He is mature, he has experience. We are living under pressure and criticism, as a coach, as a player as a club,” Emery said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester United on Monday night.
6 – Since the start of 2018-19, Arsenal are the only club to have had as many as six different players start more than one Premier League game as captain. Shift.
Laurent Koscielny (13 games)
Granit Xhaka (10)
Mesut Özil (8)
Petr Čech (7)
Aaron Ramsey (4)
Nacho Monreal (2) pic.twitter.com/mU3V7DelKc
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 27, 2019
“The most important thing is to stand up in each moment. Go ahead with his quality, with his behaviour, with his commitment and the players voted him as the first leadership.
“I spoke with him, we want to change that outside opinion [of him]. The respect he has inside is very important.
“I trust and believe in him. He is a good man, a good professional, a good player. Sometimes he has made mistakes but the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and correct those mistakes.
“His challenge is to change that opinion and above all, with his personality, and improving each match and giving us his help every time.”