Xhaka must ‘step up his game’ at Arsenal, says Henchoz

Date published: Friday 10th June 2016 10:53

Granit Xhaka: Has the qualities to succeed, says Mertesacker

Granit Xhaka must “step up his game” at Arsenal if he is to become a top player, according to Swiss defender Stephane Henchoz.

The Gunners last month revealed they have agreed a “long-term deal” to sign Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Xhaka with the £30million transfer set to be officially completed on July 1.

The 23-year-old, who has set his sights on reaching the quarter-finals with Switzerland at Euro 2016, has been tipped for big things in the Premier League, but his Swiss team-mate Henchoz says he is far from the finished article.

Speaking to talkSPORT, former Liverpool defender Henchoz, capped 72 times by the Switzerland, said: “He is a good player but I don’t think he is yet a top player.

“He can improve with his move to Arsenal obviously, but he will have to step up his game.

“He used to play as a number eight, he used to play a bit more forward, and now he is playing as a holding midfield player, as a number six.

Granit Xhaka

“He has got a great range of passing. He can play with both feet, short, long passes, he has got good height, he can score goals – long range shots he has got no problem with. But with the national team he hasn’t delivered just yet.

“We played Belgium at home last week and we expected more from him. We expect him to be the leader that gets on the ball every time and he hasn’t done that just yet. He was more comfortable with his side in Germany, Monchengladbach.

“For Arsenal fans, they can look forward to Xhaka in the team, but he will have to step up his game.”

Xhaka, whose Switzerland side kick-off their Euro 2016 campaign against Albania on Saturday, has said he was delighted to get his Arsenal deal sorted out before the Euros.

“I’m very happy [signing for Arsenal],” he told UEFA.com. “I’m glad the signing of the contract took place before the tournament and that I can play freely without worrying.

“This is my second big tournament, my first here in France, and I’m looking forward to it.”

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