Stan Collymore has absolutely savaged Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka in his column for the Mirror.
Xhaka was sent off during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Burnley at the weekend, yet another poor performance in a string of them both individually for the midfielder and for the Gunners as a collective.
The Switzerland international was shown a red card for what was essentially an attempt at strangulation, an act of aggression that you don’t see often on a football pitch, but one that Collymore is not prepared to buy into.
Writing in his column for the Mirror, Collymore claimed to see through Xhaka’s hard-man act, revealing his belief that the tough characters of old would eat him for breakfast:
“If Granit Xhaka had somehow signed for a club who were genuine title contenders he’d have been booted out the door six months after walking through it.”
“The Swiss, sent off on Sunday for petulantly grabbing Ashley Westwood by the throat, is a faux hard man whose unique selling point is tackling and breaking up play. But he’s not hard, good at tackling or breaking up play.”
“And characters like him must have Roy Keane and Graeme Souness itching to get their boots back on. Let’s be honest, both of them would have more influence on the pitch even now than Xhaka has.”
It’s hard to disagree with him, too. Xhaka does like to think he’s one of the tougher footballers, but petty acts of petulance don’t amount to toughness – rather immaturity.
It’s quite incredible that, even this far down the line, Arsenal continue to count on Xhaka in the middle of the park. He’s let them down countless times – too many times.