While away with the Switzerland national team, Granit Xhaka has spoken about what the expectations are like at Arsenal and revealed that he feared Arsene Wenger could have kicked him out of the team after his second red.
The midfielder has been all over the Swiss press spilling the beans on what life at Arsenal is like and how he feels about receiving two red cards this season.
Understandably, he wasn’t proud of his second.
“My second expulsion really disrupted me,” Xhaka admitted. “I was going through a good phase, with 13 or 14 games played consecutively, I was in the rhythm. I was afraid of losing my place. I doubted.”
Xhaka knows what this could have done if he didn’t have Wenger’s trust.
“If Arsenal does not score three times in a row, hell is going. The expectations are gigantic: wins in the championship, the Champions League and the Cup! If they stay out, the criticism is devastating – and from everywhere,” he said.
“I was afraid of losing my place [after the red cards].
“Doubts arose, and the fear of seriously damaging the further career.
“The trainer [Wenger] could have said that I was a burden, and jeopardized the success.
“He could have kicked me out.
“The tackle was completely unnecessary, I would have been well protected by the other players.
“Nothing better could have happened to me than this proof of trust from Arsène Wenger.”
Xhaka has managed to pick up a ‘bad boy’ reputation without actually been a dirty player and, at the age of 24, he needs to turn this around. Hopefully, his speaking out about it will prove that he’s self aware. He’s not some monster tearing around the pitch kicking opposition players without realising the damage he’s doing.
The Switzerland international seems refreshingly honest and passionate, which is something Arsenal are lacking. He also appears to know exactly what playing for the club means. If only this could rub off on the rest of the squad.