‘Irritating’: BBC pundit admits he cannot stand £30m Arsenal player, praises him anyway

Garth Crooks has admitted that he really dislikes Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka and claims that he finds him ‘irritating’.

Having said that, the BBC pundit has put his personal feelings to one side to praise the Switzerland international for his performance on Sunday.

Arsenal hammered Brentford 3-0 to move top of the Premier League standings before the international break.

Xhaka has long been an unpopular figure among supporters of the North London outfit and, a lot of the time, it’s with good reason.

Whether it’s cursing at them under Unai Emery or picking up needless red cards, the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder has been testing their patience on a relatively regular basis over the past six years.

However, Xhaka, a £30 million signing under Arsene Wenger back in 2016 [Sky Sports], is looking like a far better and more rounded footballer this season, often venturing more forward than he has done in recent years.

He was excellent again versus the Bees on Sunday and Crooks has conceded that although he isn’t a fan of the player, he impressed him yesterday.

He told BBC Sport: “I don’t like Granit Xhaka. 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.”

Say what you like about Xhaka – and many Gooners do – but there’s no doubt that he’s looking much better this season.

There’s a newfound sense of maturity about him and although he’s liable to switch at any moment, reverting into something of a liability, for now he’s safe as houses in that midfield alongside Thomas Partey.


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