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Xhaka proud to have topped Arsenal captain poll despite questions of his role

15:57 BST 03/10/2019
Granit Xhaka Arsenal 2019-20
The Switzerland international midfielder has been handed the armband at Emirates Stadium after emerging as the top contender from a leadership group

Granit Xhaka is “very proud” to have been named Arsenal captain, despite some questioning that appointment and his role in the Gunners side.

A blind ballot was recently held to determine who would be taking the armband at Emirates Stadium.

Unai Emery is still keen to work with a leadership group, but has accepted that one man can be prioritised as skipper.

Switzerland international midfielder Xhaka has got the nod, with the 27-year-old taking on added responsibility.

That call has generated intense debate, with Emery criticised for not making the decision himself, while a combative character has struggled to win over everybody throughout his time in England.

Xhaka is not about to waste any energy on doubters, though, with there a determination on his part to prove himself worthy of a prestigious post.

He told Arsenal Player of taking the captaincy in north London: “I'm very proud.

“It's made me very happy because when I came here, I had a lot of experience before with the Switzerland national team and I was the captain in Germany as well.
 
“When I came here, there were a lot of great players, good personalities, and it was a big step for me to be the captain here as well.

“Now I'm the official captain here and it makes me very proud to be the captain of this great club.”

Xhaka is following in the footsteps of illustrious figures such as Tony Adams and Patrick Vieira.

He believes he is up to the challenge and is looking forward to leading Arsenal through Premier League, Europa League and domestic cup campaigns.

The Swiss star added when asked about how his promotion to a prominent position came to pass: “The coach asked us to write five names, who we wanted to be the captains.

“Everything was discreet, so there were no names. You only wrote the five captains.

“In the end, I think the team, the players and of course the boss, decided who would be the first captain out of the five.
 
“Of course it's important that the other players believe in me and see how I work, how much I work.

“I'm a guy who wants to take all the players in one boat. We win together, we lose together, we win trophies together or we lose finals together, like in Baku.
 
“It's important that all the players - not only the players who play but the other players as well - are invited into our group to be happy, to speak with us if there are any problems.

“This is the role of a captain, to be strong and to be in front of the team. I think I'm a guy like this who can be in front of the team during the good times and the bad times.”

Arsenal will be back in action on Thursday against Standard Liege, with last season’s beaten Europa League finalists looking to piece together another productive campaign in continental competition.