Mikel Arteta has backed Granit Xhaka to complete his Arsenal career turnaround when the fans return.
The Swiss midfielder fell out with the club’s fans late last year after he swore at them while being booed off the pitch.
That act cost him the Arsenal captaincy, and it very nearly cost him his Arsenal career as well.
He was on the verge of leaving the club in the last transfer window, but when Arteta became the club’s manager, he convinced the midfielder to remain with the Gunners.
Xhaka has since turned his Arsenal career around with some fine performances since the new year, and as fans might return to the stadiums before the end of the year, Arteta has backed Xhaka to continue his redemption.
He hailed the midfielder as one committed player in his team and insisted that he always knew the midfielder was a good player even before he became the club’s boss.
He explained as quoted by Mail Sports: ‘For a football player when you are on the pitch and you feel you have the fans supporting and you feel their love, it gives you an immense amount of energy and drive. Hopefully, he can enjoy that when the fans are back in our stadium.’
Arteta added: ‘People know better than me what happened and how much it affected all sides when that issue occurred. When I arrived here I had a very high opinion of him and knew him really well.
‘I had to convince him he had a future, he had a place here and he could enjoy his career and his family could be happy here.
‘He is a player that when he commits he goes 100 per cent. He has worked really hard and he has won everybody’s trust again.
‘I think he’s started to enjoy it again and, normally, when you have those two aspects together – that’s when players perform at the highest level.’