Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka admitted he had not turned down the chance to captain the club again but added he was not ready for it when it was offered to him. The Swiss international was relieved of his captaincy in 2019 and hasn’t worn the club’s armband since.
Since he arrived at Arsenalfew players have been such a controversial figure as Xhaka Granite a with the often criticized performance and disciplinary record of the midfielder. However, things went from bad to worse in 2019 when the 29-year-old was booed by fans and reacted badly which saw him stripped of the captaincy. Things got so bad that Xhaka was reportedly close to leaving and has since confirmed he wants to leave, amid rumors of a move to AS Roma, but the situation has changed.
Under Mikel Arteta, the 29-year-old has found new life and is an integral part of Arsenal’s fight for the Champions League this season. But Xhaka has never worn the armband since being removed from it, although he admitted he hasn’t completely denied the possibility of captaining the club again. However, he also added that there are different ways to be a leader and that is what he is trying to do now.
“I will never say never. I was not ready for that yet. An Arsenal captain can be without an armband and I try to lead the game and the players without an armband, but if tomorrow someone from the football club comes and asks if I want to take it, I’ll be here because I know I’m ready to do it again,” Xhaka told Sky Sports.
One of the reasons Xhaka stayed at the club was Mikel Arteta, as the Arsenal boss reportedly convinced the Swiss international to stay and help build him a squad. This has been confirmed by the 29-year-old and he has revealed that the Spaniard is one of the reasons why he has improved and become even better now. Not only that, Xhaka added that Arteta backed him up despite a few mistakes here and there.
“Mikel and I are very close. When he came two years ago he told me exactly what I wanted to hear. I was missing a coach like him, very warm and open with clear ideas and he is always behind me, no matter what people were saying about me.”
“I’m not like that at the weekend but day to day. I’m 29 but I want to improve. I’m always hungry to achieve something and I want to give something back to Mikel because he was always the guy who supported me,” he added.
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