Granit Xhaka says it’s a big honour to play alongside Jack Wilshere, and thinks he can learn a lot from such a talented midfielder.
Xhaka’s partnership with Wilshere is working well for the Gunners at the moment. With Mohamed Elneny in behind providing some stability, things are good for the midfield trio. The Swiss international told Arsenal.com that he’s enjoying the setup.
“Yeah, I think it works well, and you’ve seen that in the last games,” Xhaka said. “Sadly we haven’t had the results that we wanted but I’m pleased to play on the same side as someone like Jack, who has such qualities.”
Wilshere and Xhaka first met back in 2011, when England played Switzerland in the European Championship qualifiers. The 25-year-old said he’d heard about the Hale End Academy graduate even before that, explaining:
“Jack’s always had a big name, even as a young player, when he was really pushed through and many people were talking about him. The first time I played against Jack was at Wembley, against England. Even back then, he caught my eye.
“To play next to him now is a big honour. He’s someone who plays with an element of risk, who carries the ball, who rarely loses the ball. You can learn a lot from him.”
Despite their critics, the pair have clearly made an impact recently. Xhaka scored against Chelsea on Wednesday and assisted Monreal against Crystal Palace. Wilshere scored and assisted against exactly the same teams in different fixtures.
They’ve contributed in more than just goals though. The team seems a bit more balanced after the switch to play both midfielders a bit further forward. When Wenger asked Xhaka to play a more defensive role, the team often suffered as a result. With Elneny picking up the slack behind him, that’s no longer the case.
Now Aaron Ramsey is almost back in the team, their partnership might come under threat. Either way, it’s nice to know they can perform when called upon.