Granit Xhaka has revealed he’s delighted with his new role under Mikel Arteta, after producing arguably the best performances of his Arsenal career under the Spaniard.
The Swiss international has endured something of a turbulent time at the Emirates since his arrival from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and has often faced criticism from fans and pundits alike for his displays.
Back in 2019, the midfielder’s Arsenal career looked to be over after he was booed off during a Premier League game against Crystal Palace, the then Gunners captain gesturing to the fans as he was withdrawn.
To his credit, despite being stripped of the armband, the 28-year-old has gone on to produce some impressive performances at the club over the past year or so, the arrival of Arteta seemingly having brought the best out in him.
The former Basel man is arguably a guaranteed starter in central midfield at present and seems to have somewhat tempered the previously rash and erratic displays that were prominent in his early career in England.
Xhaka has admitted that the transition to becoming a more reliable and dependable presence in the team has largely been caused by the ‘unbelievable’ Arteta, with the player agreeing that his role has become more focused under the former Manchester City assistant.
“Yes,” Xhaka told a pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Benfica this evening.
“Everything has a tactical reason. Mikel is unbelievable in how he sees the game.
“The key for a player is to understand Arteta, his philosophy and how he wants to play. I understood this game very quickly. He’s putting me in the positions where I have freedom, where I have the game in front of me. This is what I like. I don’t like the game with my back to the opponent’s goal, I like to see the whole game in front of me.
“That’s something very positive from the coach; he can see how the players like to play, and he saw that very quickly in me. I’m trying to give everything for the team, for him and to give him the confidence back that he’s giving me.”