Unai Emery has named Granit Xhaka as Arsenal’s permanent captain. The Swiss international who replaces Laurent Koscielny who left in the transfer window.
The news did not come as a surprise since Xhaka had captained the Gunners in six of the eight games for Arsenal this season and currently captains the Swiss national team. He is not new to such responsibility as he was captain of Borussia Mönchengladbach at the age of 22 before joining Arsenal in May 2016.
Emery also selected a leadership group to support Granit Xhaka in his role as captain. The group includes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil. Who exactly is the vice captain? What happens when all of the 5 leadership group is on the pitch?
The timing of the appointment is a discussion for another day but Xhaka’s recent errors puts a cloud over his choice. Nevertheless, Emery sees leadership qualities in his new captain:
First, he is mature and he has experience and we are all living all the time under pressure, under criticism as coaches, as players, as a club. The most important thing is to stand up in each moment, go ahead and [for him] to show his quality, with his behaviour, with his commitment and in the dressing room the players voted for him as the first.
After, I spoke with him and we want to change that opinion outside because that respect that he has inside the dressing room is very, very important. And also keep moving ahead, playing, improving, and with behaviour, and his commitment. Each match for him, for me, for everybody, is a very good opportunity to show our capacity.
I trust and believe in him and he is a good man, a good professional and a good player. Sometimes he has made a mistake, yes, but the most important thing is to analyse, to learn and to correct that in the future.
His challenge, and our challenge, is to change that opinion and above all, show personality and improve in each match and give us his help every time. The first match is on Monday at Manchester United.