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Wenger explains why Xhaka is now getting more games in the Arsenal first-team

Date Posted,December 30, 2016

Arsene Wenger has backed Granit Xhaka because he has improved with his defensive responsbilities.

Swiss midfielder Xhaka has started the last six Premier League games after initially struggling to adapt to life in north London.

Xhaka’s opportunities have largely come with the absence of Santi Cazorla, who is out of action after undergoing surgery.

But Wenger has been impressed with his performances – and says he will keep his place in the team if he remains focused.

Xhaka is enjoying increased game time at the Emirates (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi
Xhaka’s game has improved defensively (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Arsene Wenger
Wenger has backed him to keep his place in the Gunners’ team (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)

Speaking to Arsenal Player , Wenger said: “I believe he is on the way up, he is a much more intense player today, a much more complete player because he contributes a lot defensively as well – that’s what I did not see at the start.

“He made some outstanding passes [against West Brom], his finishing still has some room for improvement but he has it in his locker.

Aaron Ramsey
Aaron Ramsey looks on during Arsenal training (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Petr Cech
Petr Cehc keeps sharp with a diving save (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Nacho Monreal
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain whips in a ball (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)

“I just want him to focus on being strong defensively, and give the quality of his pass to the team and the rest will come along.

“There is a gap between what he can do to go to the next level, and where he is at the moment. Especially at his age, he is on the way up.

“I am confident he will [achieve that] because he is focused every day but that will depend basically on whether he can keep this attitude and that hunger to do it.”

Shkodran Mustafi
Mustafi during training (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Mohamed Elneny and Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez tries to keep the ball away from Mohamed Elneny (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Nacho Monreal
Nacho Monreal takes the ball down (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
Alex Iwobi
Alex Iwobi gets set to play the ball (Photo: Arsenal FC via Getty)
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