In comments reported by The Sun, Newcastle United defender Fabian Schar has backed Granit Xhaka over the incident that saw the midfielder lash out at the Arsenal fans while being substituted.
Xhaka’s future at the Emirates appears to have a question mark hanging over it. The Switzerland international was already coming in for a lot of criticism, and the situation came to a head in last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Plenty of Arsenal fans jeered Xhaka when he decided to walk off the pitch as the Gunners made a substitution. Unai Emery’s side were chasing a winner, and many took exception to Xhaka’s laboured reaction to his number appearing on the board.
Xhaka could not hide his anger and immediately headed down the tunnel. And with the 27-year-old yet to issue any sort of apology, there has been plenty of debate surrounding whether he is done in North London.
But international teammate Schar has defended Xhaka, and suggested that the events of last weekend were about as bad as it gets for a footballer.
“He’s a very good guy and people aren’t seeing this. I will see him in a couple of weeks with the international team and I’ll give him a hug,” he said, as reported by The Sun.
“It’s very hard for a player when your own fans are against you. Then you do something emotional that people don’t understand. It would be a very difficult situation for any player to have to deal with that. To have that from your own fans is the worst thing that can happen to you. Nobody wants to see things like this. I’m happy that this has never happened to me.”
While you could understand the perspective of those who have defended Xhaka’s actions, it is arguably impossible to defend his silence in the days since.
Had he swiftly apologised, it would have been easier for the club to move forward. Some may never forgive Xhaka. But many would have accepted that mistakes can be made when emotions are running high.
However, the silence is not doing Xhaka any favours. The longer it goes on, the harder it surely is going to be for the midfielder to turn things around.