Granit Xhaka confirmed that he only took the captain’s armband on a temporary basis over the international break, he’ll give it up to Stephan Lichtsteiner on the right-back’s return.
Xhaka has worn the armband for the full 90 minutes in three of Switzerland’s last four games, as Lichtsteiner has been in and out of the team. The 34-year-old agreed with head coach Vladimir Petkovic that he wouldn’t join up with the squad for the most recent international break, to give himself a bit of a rest after a busy year.
Xhaka led the Swiss team well in his Arsenal teammate’s absence. They got a couple of wins over Iceland in their UEFA Nations League group, whilst suffering a narrow 2-1 defeat away to a strong Belgium side. However, Xhaka told the media he has no expectation to keep the armband.
“I have now worn the armband twice in a row. As soon as Steff is back, I’ll give him the armband he deserves,” the 26-year-old confirmed.
Hopefully, Xhaka will benefit from the additional responsibility given to him with Switzerland. The midfielder is also one of Unai Emery’s captains at Arsenal, as well as previously leading Borussia Mönchengladbach to Champions League qualification. With any luck, he can do the same again with the Gunners this season.
After that, when Lichtsteiner eventually steps down from international duty, Xhaka should be ready to take his place permanently.