Granit Xhaka should hold his head in shame for claiming the Arsenal team was “scared” last weekend, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Leeds United and Coventry City striker was stunned that the captain went public to question the mentality of his teammates.
Xhaka openly admitted to the frailties in the team after they let slip a 2-0 half-time lead to draw 2-2 against Watford at Vicarage Road last Sunday.
“We were scared in the second half,” Xhaka said in a Sky Sports post-match interview. “We knew they would come at us and push us hard but we have to show more character and not be scared. We cannot give a performance like this in the second half.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice in the first half for the visitors but the Hornets hit back through Tom Cleverley and a late Roberto Pereyra penalty.
Asked what he would have said to Xhaka if he was his teammate, radio pundit Whelan told Football Insider. “Hold your head in shame. Those comments were weird.
“He’s Arsenal captain and he should be demonstrating leadership, not making life more difficult for everyone.
“You watch Arsenal and they just don’t help themselves. They’re soft, they making needless errors and concede calamity goals all the time. As a group players, you can’t rely on them, and Xhaka sums that up.”
Xhaka will have an immediate chance to atone for the weekend disappointment as he has been named in the Arsenal travelling party for their Europa League opener at Eintracht Frankfurt tonight.