Granit Xhaka has hit back at the critics who have made him “look like a brainless idiot” after a tough start to his Arsenal career.
The Swiss midfielder has suffered disciplinary problems since his £35million move from Borussia Monchengladbach last summer. He has been sent off three times this season, twice for Arsenal against Swansea in October and Burnley in January and once for his country.
The midfielder has also picked up nine yellow cards, including five in his last six Arsenal games.
Arsene Wenger has admitted the player needs to work on his tackling technique, while Thierry Henry condemned Xhaka’s tackle on Steven Defour.
“It’s not the first time, he did it against Swansea and his team had to suffer,” Henry told Sky Sports.
“But that was on a, he gives the ball cheaply away. This I just do not get.”
Xhaka though has responded in an interview with Swiss outlet 24 heures:
“What hurt me a lot was the source of the criticism and its form. It didn’t come from my club, but from former players who don’t know me any more than they know Arsenal,” said Xhaka.
“People who don’t know anything about how I work attacked me by making me look like a brainless idiot and nasty.”
Xhaka though has had the support of Wenger and has made 33 appearances this season and after his latest ban he was drafted straight back into the starting line-up against Bayern Munich.
“Arsene Wenger couldn’t have given me a better sign of confidence. After two weeks working with the fitness coach, the coach came to me and took a weight off my shoulders: ‘You’re playing!'” added the 24-year-old.
“You see, such a sending-off can, according to the circumstances, change a career. The coach also could very well have said to me that I was a burden on the route to success. He also could have sacked me!”