Granit Xhaka is about to start his four game vacation for being a dunderhead, and as the Not Xhaka Double Fortnight commences, his manager has a few things to say about the Swiss player’s demeanor and learning curve. Never one to beat around the bush, Wenger leads with the glaringly obvious:
“I think he’s not naturally a great tackler”
In a related series of thoughts, Wenger agreed that water is, in fact, wet and that the sun does indeed rise in the east. All joking aside, though, I’m really glad to see Wenger call this out in public - he usually defends his players at all costs, and given that Xhaka really needs to learn how to control himself, it’s awesome that that education process is becoming public.
It’s not all ball-busting and denigration, though - Wenger had a lot of good things to say about Granit as well, like
In his decision making I think he is quite intelligent on the pitch.
That’s true, at least in his decisions that aren’t “should I tackle this guy” - and it’s a big reason why so much money was spent on him in the summer. However:
...it’s more the way he tackles that is not really convincing. He doesn’t master well the technique. I would encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet.
I like that that thought didn’t end “we’ll teach him a better technique” or something - just a frank acknowledgment that Granit Xhaka will be better served staying upright as much as possible.
Here’s hoping he learns his lesson.