Granit Xhaka has had his fair share of criticism throughout his time at Arsenal but after a year since the club captaincy was passed onto Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Patrick Vieira’s comments have come into fruition.
In October 2019, Xhaka was stripped of the armband after reacting angrily to supporters booing him off the pitch against Crystal Palace.
It seemed as though the Swiss midfielder’s career at the Emirates was over as then manager Unai Emery left him out of the team.
But Vieira was among the few people who showed support to Xhaka.
“I feel sorry for him because he [was] the captain and he’s going through a really difficult period and really difficult time at Arsenal,” Vieira said.
“I think we have to remind ourselves that he’s achieved a lot since he’s at Arsenal and he deserves a lot of respect.
“When you’re a player and don’t perform the way you expect, you get frustrated about yourself.
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“And sometimes you say things or do things you regret.
“I find it really difficult a lot of ex-footballers have jumped on him and being really negative towards him, it’s too easy.
“I know how good he is and he will come through this difficult period because he’s a strong man, he’s a good player. And he will show how good he is.”
Vieira’s belief in Xhaka has since proven to be right with Mikel Arteta’s arrival in December allowing Xhaka to be introduced back into the squad.
Under Arteta, Xhaka’s game has grown and remarkably he has regained the armband when senior players have left the pitch.
It remains to be seen whether Xhaka can be a partner for summer signing Thomas Partey but any concerns about his mentality and characters are no longer justified.