Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown on Friday said that the team’s manager, Unai Emery, ‘got it wrong’ by making Granit Xhaka captain of the London side.
Emery, Concise News reports, announced the Swiss midfielder as Arsenal skipper on Friday after he had consulted with his players; but Keown believes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would have been a better choice.
Xhaka, 27, who joined the Gunners in 2016, had been the club’s acting captain after the departures of Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey over the summer.
But Keown, like many Arsenal faithful, says since Xhaka isn’t a regular starter, he should not have been given the armband.
“This is a massive call and I think perhaps he [Emery] has got it wrong,” the former centre-back told talkSPORT on Friday.
“This is really going to divide the fans. There are times when Xhaka goes missing in midfield, he’s given penalties away… he must be an incredible character off the pitch!
“It’s surprising, particularly how he was booed off the pitch less than a week ago.
“It’s a brave decision by the manager, he’s picked him every time he’s available so he clearly believes in the player, but I’m surprised, I must say.
“You need to be sure the captain is going to be in the team and he’s on borrowed time. There are others in that group, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, Dani Ceballos, who are starting to progress, so if Xhaka is still going to be a permanent fixture than I’m surprised by that.
“I would have gone for Aubameyang, he would have been a pretty good fit. It might have given him a little more extra responsibility. He’s doing fantastically well at the moment and he’s secure in the team, he’s a regular.”