Search

EXCLUSIVE: Arsenal legend Dixon talks Xhaka as captain and the club's lack of leaders

PUBLISHED: 11:10 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 11:20 28 October 2019

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal legend Lee Dixon believes current Gunners captain Granit Xhaka 'ticks some of the boxes' required to be skipper, but thinks the club's current squad is lacking a true leader.

Arsenal defenders Lee Dixon (left) and captain Tony Adams combine to deny Wimbledon's Carl Cort at Highbury. Picture:Michael Stephens/PA.Arsenal defenders Lee Dixon (left) and captain Tony Adams combine to deny Wimbledon's Carl Cort at Highbury. Picture:Michael Stephens/PA.

Xhaka hit the headlines following his outburst during Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace after being booed by the crowd at the Emirates.

The midfielder could be stripped of the captaincy after throwing the armband, swearing at supporters, dropping his shirt and storming down the tunnel, with Arsenal boss Unai Emery describing his reaction as wrong.

Speaking exclusively to the Islington Gazette before the incident, Arsenal legend Lee Dixon - who was led by the legendary Tony Adams during his 14-year spell at the club - believes Xhaka has some of the qualities required to be skipper.

"There are a couple of things there. You don't and I don't know what he is like in the dressing room," said Dixon.

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka speaks to referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Nigel French/PAArsenal’s Granit Xhaka speaks to referee Martin Atkinson during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: Nigel French/PA

"You aren't in the dressing room so it's hard to make assumptions.

"People are making assumptions on what they see on the pitch and his playing ability, maybe mixed with his leadership qualities and how you see a leader in your mind - and we are all doing this - and how a captain should be doing this and should be doing that, and if he doesn't tick those boxes it should be someone else.

"Apparently he's quite vocal in the dressing room and around the training ground, like if someone is late, and that's all part of it, the discipline side, so he possibly ticks some of the boxes for the manager and the players because the player vote obviously went in his favour.

You may also want to watch:

"You also have to take into consideration who else there is, because you can't make a captain out of someone who isn't there, so is he the best out of the options available?"

Xhaka's ability has also been called into question by fans and pundits, but Dixon believes he's not as bad as is sometimes made out.

"I think he's actually not a bad a player," said the former full-back.

"Let's get that right, he plays for Arsenal, he's played a lot of games at international level so he's got a lot of experience, it just might be that the player we need in defensive midfield, he's just not going to be good enough in that role.

"That doesn't mean to say that the people who are in power at the club and the manager and the players don't think he's the best man for the job."

Dixon believes the current squad is lacking leaders, but thinks that fellow right-back Hector Bellerin would make a good captain in the long-term.

"I think we are struggling for captains," he said.

"Bellerin will be a long-term captain eventually, but at the moment he's not in the team and he's not ready to take that role on so it's the best of the rest and the choice is very limited in terms of the leadership role Arsenal need.

"Xhaka's in the right position for it because it needs to be in that central midfield area right now because that's our biggest problem."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Islington Gazette

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists