Ian Wright thinks Granit Xhaka should be focusing on developing his own game, rather than taking on the responsibility of the captaincy at Arsenal.
Since being named among Unai Emery’s five captains for the 2018/19 season, Xhaka has seen his claim to the number one spot grow by default, as much as anything else.
Of the five original captains, Petr Cech has retired, Aaron Ramsey has left on a free transfer and Laurent Koscielny has been sold. That leaves Xhaka and Mesut Özil. Nacho Monreal was briefly considered as an option too, before he was sold to Real Sociedad.
Given Özil is in a battle just to get back into the starting lineup, and no other captains have been named at this stage, Xhaka is simply the only available option right now.
Speaking on Radio 5 Live (via Goal), Wright admitted he thinks it’s not the time for the 26-year-old to be formally named club captain.
“He shouldn’t be named captain, he should be focusing on his own game,” Wright said.
“The captaincy and all the responsibility that comes with that, he makes the mistakes that, if I’m on the pitch and Tony Adams is on the pitch making mistakes like that, I’m thinking ‘what are you doing?!’.
“He made so many fouls [against Spurs], he could have easily been sent off. He doesn’t recognise danger, Xhaka.
“I do feel like we’ve come to the stage where Joe Willock is pushing him, Guendouzi is definitely pushing him, picking up the ball from deep and doing the job that he’s doing and alongside David Luiz, whatever anyone says about him, he sprays some unbelievable balls. The fact is, I think he (Xhaka) slows it down now.”
Xhaka has taken over the captain’s notes in the matchday programme, though the club have renamed the section ‘the view from the dressing room’ until the captaincy is confirmed.
There are a number of candidates for the role, and there are no real hints yet who is being considered. Now that the European transfer window is closed and the squad is finalised, we should know soon enough.