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Granit Xhaka: Arsenal midfielder appointed Switzerland captain

Xhaka Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been named as the new captain of the Swiss national team.

The 27-year-old will lead out his country for the first time in Switzerland's Nations League opener in Ukraine on Thursday night, live on Sky Sports Football.

He replaces Stephan Lichtsteiner, former team-mate at the Emirates Stadium, who retired from professional football in August after his final year at Bundesliga side Augsburg.

Xhaka had his Arsenal captaincy stripped by old boss Unai Emery after a high-profile incident in October, where he appeared to swear at the Emirates crowd as he left the pitch for a substitution.

Under Mikel Arteta, the Switzerland international has become a mainstay of Arsenal's midfield, providing one goal and one assist in a rejuvenated Arsenal side which won both FA Cup and Community Shield.

"It's a real pleasure to meet again with the national team after a ten-month break," Xhaka said.

Arsenal's Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (L) and Arsenal's Spanish head coach Mikel Arteta (R) embrace on the pitch after the English FA Cup third round football match between Arsenal and Leeds United at The Emirates Stadium in London on January 6, 2020. - Arsenal won the game 1-0.
Image: Xhaka has rediscovered his form under Mikel Arteta

"As the new captain, I am extremely proud to be able to play for my country, and moreover to represent it in the captain's role. It's a dream come true.

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"We are happy to be able to count on your support and we promise we will do everything to bring you joy in the upcoming campaign and also in the future."

Switzerland will continue their Nations League campaign when they host Germany on Sunday, also live on Sky Sports Football.

Xhaka's side will play against Wales, Turkey and hosts Italy in Group A of the rearranged European Championships, which are due to take place in June and July 2021.

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