Nuno Tavares lauds Granit Xhaka and says midfielder's key for Arsenal
Nuno Tavares has told the Counter Attack Podcast that Granit Xhaka is key for Arsenal, and suggested that some of the things he says to the players are actually more helpful than what the coaches come out with.
It is probably an understatement to say that Xhaka has had an interesting time at Arsenal. But it is also fair to say that he is coming towards the end of arguably his best season yet for the club.
Of course, he nearly left last summer. There was plenty of speculation that he was one step away from joining Roma off the back of a brilliant showing at Euro 2020 with Switzerland.
Ultimately, he stayed. And Arsenal have benefitted. Xhaka has been superb in the middle of the park. And actually, it seems that he remains an incredibly popular member of the dressing room.
He divided some with his post-match interview after their costly defeat to Newcastle. Xhaka was brutally honest and pulled absolutely no punches.
Reports claimed that there were no complaints amongst the Arsenal squad in the wake of Xhaka’s interview. And Tavares is clearly one who took no issue with what the 29-year-old said.
‘He’s a leader’
Tavares lauded Xhaka and insisted that what he brings to the Arsenal dressing room is invaluable.
“I don’t know why people spoke about Granit. He’s a leader, everybody respects him and his mentality is key for us.
I think the way he talks with young players I think is enough to be happy to play,” he told the Counter Attack Podcast.
“He knows what to tell to the players. To give some confidence sometimes the coaches don’t understand how to speak with the players.
“But Granit because he’s a player too, he knows what he needs to tell you to get motivation but when you don’t train well he’s honest.
“Sometimes we joke about that, when it’s like a disaster he can tell you! But he’s really good and funny, I think he’s a leader and you can have a conversation with him, he knows everything.”
Xhaka key for Arsenal
Xhaka has his limitations when he is out on the pitch. But it is telling that he remains a key part of the plans despite so many setbacks during his time in North London.
Ideally, Arsenal will strengthen their midfield this summer. But it will come as absolutely no surprise if Xhaka is there helping set the standard around the club next season too.
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