Taking a rest not on Granit Xhaka’s mind as Arsenal power forward
Granit Xhaka is prepared to play every Arsenal game until the World Cup – insisting he has no concerns of burnout.
The Switzerland captain has been in fine form for the Gunners this season and hit a superb winner in the 1-0 Europa League victory over PSV Eindhoven.
It was Xhaka’s third goal of the campaign, equalling his tally from the previous three years combined and ensured Arsenal place in the knockout stages.
The 30-year-old has started all-but one of Arsenal’s 14 games, only missing 93 minutes of action to play a key role in Mikel Arteta’s side sitting top of the Premier League.
“I am not worried about this because the staff, the coach, the know how I am physically, how I look after myself,” he said.
“I am feeling very good. Of course, every time you win it makes it a little bit easier, but I am not worried about the minutes, or the World Cup, or the future.
“Listen, I am 30 years old, I know my body better than before for sure. When you are young, you are different, you think different. When you are 30 you know your body, you know exactly what you need more of and what not.
“Of course you have your private people around helping you with everything, with the food, with the recovery and stuff like this. At the moment everything is work well.”
I am not worried about the minutes, or the World Cup, or the future
While the likes of Reece James, Diogo Jota and N’Golo Kante are expected to miss the World Cup through injuries suffered recently, Xhaka is not about to knock on his manager’s door and ask for a breather.
“I was never thinking like this, I will never think like this when I go on the pitch,” he said.
“You have to put your foot in when it is a 50/50 ball. And me, my personality, the people who know me, I will never back out of that.
“I don’t think it’s about my games at the moment, I’ve been here seven years and my numbers speak for themselves.
“Really I’m not thinking about a break. Mikel is the boss, he decides when to take me out and when not to. He did against Bodo, it was maybe perfect timing to give me a bit of a rest. Games like this, everyone wants to play.”
Xhaka captained Arsenal against PSV as his redemption arc continues having previously been stripped of the armband for swearing at the club’s supporters when his substitution was cheered.
His role in Arteta’s side has also changed and his performances have been a driving force in Arsenal’s best-ever start to a Premier League season – now he wants it to continue until the World Cup.
“It has to be,” he replied when asked if the aim has to be to be top of the table when the domestic season halts.
“When you are there you have to be there as long as possible in this place.
“I think if we have the chance to stay there where we are at the moment and the World Cup comes, maybe it is a good break for everyone, maybe for us as well, to prepare something else for January.”
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