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Davies puts north London rivalry aside to back Arsenal captain Xhaka

  • Granit Xhaka's situation at Arsenal has brought to light just how much pressure footballers are under, according to Tottenham's Ben Davies.
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Modified 05 Nov 2019, 18:56 IST

Ben Davies and Granit Xhaka during the north London derby
Ben Davies and Granit Xhaka during the north London derby

Tottenham's Ben Davies says his team-mates would put rivalries aside to help Arsenal's Granit Xhaka after the Gunners' captain's issues with the club's supporters.

Xhaka did not feature for Arsenal against Wolves on Saturday, with Unai Emery choosing to leave the Switzerland international out after a confrontation with fans during the home draw with Crystal Palace last Sunday.

The midfielder was booed by sections of Arsenal's support as he was substituted, cupping his ears and apparently swearing to the fans as he went off before removing his shirt and walking straight down the tunnel.

In a statement released on Arsenal's official Twitter account, Xhaka explained his actions were the consequence of abuse aimed at him at matches and on social media, including death threats to his family.

The following is a message from Granit Xhaka... pic.twitter.com/YG5lBKmQvi
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) October 31, 2019

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He was also reportedly visited by some Arsenal team-mates after the Palace draw, who tried to console him, while Emery described his mood this week as "upset, devastated and very sad".

Davies, who is likely to start for Spurs against Everton on Sunday due to Danny Rose's suspension, expressed his sympathy for Xhaka's situation and revealed he has previously consulted a psychologist over the pressure of playing at the highest level for club and country.

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"I spoke to a ­psychologist we had at Wales and he said that footballers are really in a ­melting pot of anxiety when ­their performance is critiqued by ­millions of people every game," Davies said, as quoted by The Mirror.

"It's not like if you work in a shop that your performance will get judged by millions. It's a stressful environment. I get it if players get down and if players have evenings when they are ­struggling.

"That is normal and it's something that needs to be spoken about more. All you can do if it's your team-mate is try to help.

"Across football, nobody wants to see players getting booed. I can understand if these things happen, it’s part and parcel of the game.

"But as far as someone like Xhaka is concerned, when you read he is struggling or maybe needed counselling, nobody wants to see that. Rivalries aside, if we could help him out, we would."

Also check out:Premier League Table EPL fixtures Premier League 

Published 03 Nov 2019, 04:58 IST
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