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Xhaka Must be willing to Accept Fans Criticism, Neville Says as Arsenal Strips Swiss National of Captaincy

Manchester United Legend Gary Neville have advised that  Arsenal’s former captain Granit Xhaka to must be willing to accept fan criticism.

The ex-England international advised that  players must also have a thick skin to cope with the intense scrutiny they are placed under on a weekly basis.

“All’s fair in love and war,” Neville, who was speaking at the launch of the eToro Fan Financial Statement, told Omnisport.

“[In games] against Liverpool they were singing about my mum. I wasn’t happy but it didn’t bother me. I was booed for 12 months for England as a Manchester United player, but you just accept it as part of the game.

“Look at what’s happened with the targeting of black players, people think that anything goes. We have to stop that. The fines for Bulgaria were unacceptable.

“There is change happening. Football should be a pioneer for change, but overall football is a safer place to watch, there are more families.

“The games are fantastic football matches. We have the best football in Europe at the moment. There are so many positives.”

The Switzerland midfielder cupped his ear, removed his shirt and appeared to swear at a section of spectators as he was substituted in the second half of the 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium against Crystal Palace.

Following his actions, Unai Emery last night announced the club’s decision to strip the Swiss midfielder of his captaincy, naming striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the club’s new captain.

Xhaka, who was named the Gunners’ permanent skipper in late September, succeeded Laurent Koscielny in the role.

But he has increasingly come under fire from supporters with abuse aimed at his conduct and performances, culminating in a encounter with fans during Arsenal’s game with Crystal Palace on October 27.

He has not played for the club since and was left out of their squad for their Europa League trip to Portugal later this week, leading to speculation that he has played his final game for the club.

Reportedly elected to the captaincy on a full-time basis by his team-mates following a number of rotating skippers, Xhaka and the playing group were informed on Tuesday morning of the change in leadership.

Aubameyang, who joined in January 2018, is currently in his second full season at the Emirates Stadium, having claimed the Premier League Golden Boot last term.

The France-born Gabon international has been a standout performer since his arrival in North London and is likely to prove a popular choice to take on the armband.

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