Granit Xhaka may have been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy, but a video of his inspirational team talk at Tottenham has shown he is a real leader.
The 30-year-old had the armband taken off him in 2019 for telling the Gunners fans to ‘f*** off’ following his substitution against Crystal Palace.
Xhaka delivered a passionate team talk to his Arsenal teammates before the north London derby
Xhaka has been one of Arsenal’s standout players this season
But he has since rebuilt his relationship with the supporters, while cementing his place as one of Mikel Arteta‘s key players in Arsenal’s title charge.
After Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was axed as skipper last season, the responsibility fell to Alexandre Lacazette, with Martin Odegaard then assuming the role last summer.
Xhaka has been named as one of Odegaard’s vice-captains, though a number of fans believe the Swiss midfielder is the captain without the armband.
And a brilliant video prior to Arsenal’s 2-0 win in the north London derby on Sunday has backed that claim up where Xhaka could be seen getting his teammates pumped up.
In a video shared on social media by TV presenter Alison Bender, Xhaka and the rest of the starting XI were in a circle going through their stretches.
Xhaka was talking non-stop to the Arsenal squad throughout the video as the players listened intently to what he had to say.
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His speech clearly did the trick as Arsenal dominated the first half against Spurs as they effectively put the game to bed heading into the break.
Fans were loving his motivational team talk, as they flooded Bender’s comments section, with one user posting: “No one can convince me that Xhaka isn’t our real captain.”
Another said: “The redemption of Xhaka is just poetic.”
A third added: “Odegaard is the captain, Xhaka is the leader.”
Xhaka has featured in all 18 Premier League games for the Gunners this season
This supporter simply stated: “Xhaka is the real captain.”
Xhaka has started in all 18 Premier League games for the Gunners this season where he is thriving in his new free-roaming No.8 role.
Boss Arteta has declared he threatened to replace Xhaka last summer unless the player could adapt to his new position.
He remarked: “The squad wanted to evolve to another level and be more dominant and have more resources in the final third to attack and to score more goals. We needed to make that change.
“I spoke to him at the end of the season and said, ‘I need to unlock something in your brain because you’re so comfortable and confident playing in this area that you have forgot that actually what is going to win us the game is here and the team now demands somebody here, so unless you unlock that I’m going to have to do something about it’.
“He took it straight away. He’s a very intelligent player, he came to pre-season fitter than ever, slimmer than ever.
“And he knew that if we wanted to take the team to a different level we had to change his role. He knew that was coming.”
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