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 had 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 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.
Speaking on Friday at his 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.”