Saturday, May 13, 2023

Ian Wright Names The Arsenal Player Who Has Surprised Him The Most This Season - Not Saka, Odegaard

Arsenal legend Ian Wright has praised Granit Xhaka for the way he has turned around his career at the Gunners.

Wright admits he used to be one of the Swiss international’s fiercest critics but he has been won over by his performances this campaign:

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“Who has been the surprise? I’d probably say Granit Xhaka. He’s been a brilliant servant to the club to this point. Every manager has trusted him. He’s magnificent in the dressing room. This season with Mikel using him as more of an attacking force, what you’re seeing now is that he doesn’t get involved in fouls and that stuff, that wasn’t the strength of his game.”

“He’s one of the driving forces of the team and I’m very pleased that Mikel has recognised that in him and he’s turned into the player where it would be tough for us to put a side out where we need anything and he’s not in it. I was one of his critics, you’d see him make mistakes that you make when you’re not in the right position. I’ve eaten a lot of humble pie over Xhaka and I’ve got no problem with that because he’s come and he’s proved a lot of people wrong.”

You would be hard-pressed to find a supporter who hasn’t changed their opinion on Xhaka. There really has been a remarkable transformation in the public perception of the player.

Considering the difficulties he has faced since he moved to London in 2016, not many would have predicted this dramatic improvement. Of course, some of the credit for that has to go to manager Mikel Arteta.

As Wright points out, the decision to play Xhaka further forward has proven to be a masterstroke. It has accentuated the player’s best attributes, whilst masking some of his weaknesses.

There have been reports that Bayer Leverkusen are keen to bring him back to Germany but the vast majority of supporters will hope he stays this summer.

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