Granit Xhaka has offered to give up the armband of the Swiss national team if it will help Xherdan Shaqiri get over his huff and return to the squad.
The Liverpool man withdrew from the Switzerland team for this international break, choosing to miss out on their Euro qualifying games against Ireland (1-1 draw on Thursday night) and Gibraltar (Sunday 8 September) rather than play under Xhaka as captain.
That’s the story that’s doing the rounds, anyway – Shaqiri is p*ssed that Granit Xhaka has been given the armband ahead of him.
Technically, former Arsenal full-back, Stephan Lichtsteiner, is still Switzerland captain, but he wasn’t called up for this round of matches because he did not enjoy a full pre-season Until he announces his retirement (which he has no intention of doing, he wants to play in the Euros in 2020), or his country retires him, he will still be the official captain. However, in his absence, the Swiss manager, Vladimir Petkovic, will pick Xhaka for the role.
“If the Captain’s band really is the problem, then we can sit together at one table,” Xhaka told reporters after his side’s draw in Dublin. “We are grown up enough to talk about it.
“If he really has a problem about that [the captaincy], then he may like the Captain’s armband. That’s no problem for me. It does not matter to me if I have it. I want to give everything to the team, whether tat’s with the band or without.”
It is claimed that Shaqiri is angry because he is one year older than Xhaka and should have been given the armband instead (there are 11 months between them).
It is not clear, however, if his is the real reason for his refusal to join his international teammates, however from Xhaka’s answer you can see that he didn’t dismiss it as nonsense at all.