15 October 2021

Arsenal are going to miss ‘passionate’ Granit Xhaka – Jack Wilshere

15 October 2021

Jack Wilshere believes Arsenal will miss Granit Xhaka in the coming months as he praised the passion of the opinion-splitting midfielder.

Xhaka is likely to be out until late December after suffering knee ligament damage in the 3-1 victory over Tottenham last month.

He had just returned from a three-match ban before being hit by the injury, although he escaped the need for surgery and a longer period on the sidelines.

Ever since his arrival from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016, the Arsenal fanbase has been largely divided on Xhaka.

Wilshere and Xhaka played together in the same Arsenal side. (Nick Potts/PA) (PA Archive)

The Switzerland skipper, however, has always retained the faith of his managers and team-mates.

He will be missing when Arsenal host former captain Patrick Vieira and his Crystal Palace side on Monday night – but it was the corresponding fixture two seasons ago which saw Xhaka’s Arsenal career threatened.

With Palace having come from two down to draw level, Arsenal supporters cheered as Unai Emery opted to replace Xhaka with Bukayo Saka – prompting the Swiss to tell them to “f*** off” as he left the pitch, removing his shirt as he did so.

He was stripped of the captaincy by Emery but remained at the club and has worn the armband since under Mikel Arteta, with Wilshere also a fan of the 29-year-old.

He is driven and wants to be the best he can be and I think the fans are starting to see that now.

“Granit is someone I played with in my last few years at the club,” he told the PA news agency.

“He was always a good team-mate, a good team player. He obviously has his difficulties with the fans but that is just the type of character he is.

“He is a passionate character, he wants to do well, he is driven and wants to be the best he can be and I think the fans are starting to see that now.”

Xhaka was injured for the goalless draw at Brighton before the international break and Wilshere, who is back training at Arsenal as he searches for a new club, feels Arteta’s side were worse off for his absence.

On the pitch at The Valley, home of Charlton Athletic, former Arsenal FC player Jack Wilshere, and former Birmingham, Chelsea and England player Karen Carney help to launch the Utilita Kids and Girls Cup with the children from Ealdham Primary School. (Utilita)

“The last game against Brighton, I think Arsenal really missed him,” he added.

“They missed his quality to put the foot on the ball and start attacks. He is the best player in the current squad at doing that so they need to work out a way to play without him there.

“He is injured and they are going to be without him for a few months – I think they will definitely miss him.”

:: Utilita have partnered with the EFL to power one of Britain’s biggest junior football tournaments, The Utilita Kids and Girls Cup.

:: As part of Utilita’s work to help kids keep active through playing football, over 22,000 schoolchildren will take part in the six-a-side tournament for the chance to represent their local EFL club and compete for a once in a lifetime appearance at Wembley. To find out more, visit www.efl.com

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox