Garth Crooks says he dislikes Granit Xhaka and feels ‘he should have left Arsenal years ago’.
Xhaka thanked Arsenal supporters for a ‘very special day’ after he captained the Gunners to a 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday.
Arsenal fans serenaded him throughout and after the game, chanting his name – something that would have been unthinkable three years ago – when Xhaka threw his shirt on the ground after getting jeered off by his own supporters in a home game against Crystal Palace.
The Switzerland international was stripped of the captaincy after the incident, and his Arsenal career looked over until boss Mikel Arteta arrived and convinced the player to stay at the Emirates.
He caused further controversy at the end of last season when he appeared to take a dig at Arsenal’s young players, but Xhaka is now playing his best football much to the fans’ delight and was singled out for praise by Gunners legend Ian Wright following the win over Brentford.
Crooks, though, remains unconvinced by Xhaka, admitting he doesn’t like him despite the 29-year-old looking ‘very impressive’ on the weekend.
‘I don’t like Granit Xhaka,’ Crooks told the BBC. ‘I find him confrontational, overly aggressive and altogether irritating.
‘Nevertheless, on his day he’s a very good player. He should have left Arsenal years ago.
‘However, for some reason he has not only stayed at the club, but also occasionally wears the captain’s armband, such is his popularity these days.
‘Against Brentford he looked very impressive and so did Arsenal.
‘I would like to know why Brentford didn’t look up for this game, but the Gunners were so good I rather suspect that even if they had it wouldn’t have changed anything – Arsenal were that good. Most worrying.’
In a message to Arsenal fans after the win in west London, Xhaka said: ‘Hey guys, Granit here. Great win, great result, thanks for your support.
‘You’ve been amazing but as well for myself to hear what happened today, to say my name, to sing the song for me.
‘It’s a very, very special day and thank you again, see you soon. All the best guys.’
Arsenal are top of the Premier League after the opening seven games of the season and return to action on October 1 when they host Tottenham in the North London Derby.
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