Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic has confirmed Granit Xhaka as captain of the national side, in the absence of Arsenal teammate Stephan Lichtsteiner.
Lichtsteiner wasn’t called up to the Switzerland squad for the current international break, which raised a couple of questions. Firstly, why wasn’t the Arsenal right-back taking part on this occasion?
“I agreed with Stephan Lichtsteiner in August and in September that he will not be there in October,” Petkovic told the media.
The coach didn’t give any further reasoning but, presumably, it has something to do with not overplaying the right-back. At 34 years old, Lichtsteiner probably shouldn’t be playing every single international game as well as training and playing full time for his club.
The other question the exclusion raised was over who would take Lichtsteiner’s place as captain. Petkovic confirmed that the full-back’s Arsenal teammate Granit Xhaka would replace him, followed by Xherdan Shaqiri and Yann Sommer as vice-captains.
Switzerland face Belgium and Iceland in the UEFA Nations League on the 12th and 15th October. Petkovic’s side are currently top of their group after one game, having beaten Iceland 6-0. Belgium also defeated Iceland, but only by three goals, so they’re behind on goal difference for now.
Hopefully, Xhaka will captain his team to a confidence-boosting couple of wins and come back ready for Leicester City on the 22nd of October.