LONDON: New Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka will be given opportunities to nail down a first-team place after dropping out of the starting XI, manager Arsene Wenger said on Friday.
Wenger spent 35 million pounds to prise the 23-year-old from Borussia Moenchengladbach during the close season, making him one of Arsenal's biggest ever signings.
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The 23-year-old has started Arsenal's last two games on the bench with Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin playing in central midfield, but Wenger has indicated the Switzerland international could play farther forward. "I personally prefer him [Xhaka] as a box-to-box player," the Frenchman told a press conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Hull City.
The Gunner’s manager continued, "Xhaka has the engine, he has the power, he has the long pass. He likes to come deep and distribute, but he has the engine to have the impact with his runs as it's not about his quality at the moment. He adapts to the pace of the English game. For me it's about pairs as well who work together. Coquelin and Cazorla have worked well together."
Wenger hopes to have winger Theo Walcott available at Hull following a knee injury, but midfielder Aaron Ramsey [hamstring] remains sidelined and centre-back Gabriel [ankle] is short of match fitness.
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Hull's early season form has been impressive. They go into Saturday's game level on points with Arsenal and Wenger praised their caretaker manager Mike Phelan, who has been offered the job on a permanent basis.
"He's [Phelan] doing very well," Wenger said of the former Manchester United assistant manager. "He's experienced after working at big clubs in big competitions. He has done really well. He is a real football man and has given some stability to Hull. They are difficult to beat."
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