Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli has praised Granit Xhaka after declaring he is the club’s leader on the pitch – not captain Martin Odegaard.
Gunners playmaker Odegaard was appointed captain by Mikel Arteta after Alexandre Lacazette was released late last season.
But it is Swiss international Xhaka, who was stripped of the Arsenal captain’s armband during the 2019-20 season, who has been the driving force behind the team in north London this season.
That is the view of Brazil international Martinelli who has grown lyrical about the 30-year-old after Sunday’s 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Emirates.
Xhaka has often been seen assembling the Arsenal squad in a jumble after they scored, where he held a team meeting.
Speak with the athletic on what was said during the team talks, Martinelli commented: “I don’t remember what I’m saying!
“But Granit always says very positive things: keep going, keep the ball and try to attack from the back.
“This kind of things. He’s the man who always leads us on the pitch.”
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It was only last week that Martinelli greeted the two-time FA Cup winner after their… 3-1 win over rivals Tottenham.
He stated: “Xhaka is a great boy. You see how much he is committed to the team, how much he cares about the game and also about the players – he is definitely one of our leaders.
“Right after our first goal against Tottenham, he calls everyone together, asks us to keep calm and says we will score more goals.
“Then you see how important he is for all players. For young players like me and Bukayo [Saka]”It’s very important to have a team-mate like him.”
Ahead of Arsenal’s Europa League clash at Bodo/Glimt, Odegaard was asked if being Arsenal captain has changed him.
To which he said: “I haven’t thought about it too much to be honest.
“I try to do the same things, help the team as much as possible.
“I enjoy the responsibility and always try to do the best for the team and hopefully that’s a good thing.”