Unai Emery, Arsenal manager,has disclosed the reasons behind his choice to appoint Granit Xhaka as the new permanent captain of the club.
During the opening weeks of the new season, the Swiss international had worn the bracelet and was now permanently appointed captain, replacing Laurent Koscielny, who left the club this summer to join Bordeaux.
The appointment of Granit Xhaka as captain is likely to divide the club’s players and fanbase, with Emery as well as 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.
But speaking on Friday during a pre-match press conference ahead of Arsenal’s trip to Manchester United, Emery said:
“He (Xhaka) is mature, he has experience. We are living under pressure and criticism, as a coach, as a player as a club.
“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.”