Gary Neville has told talkSPORT he ‘has a real problem’ with Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka, although isn’t bothered by his angry foul-mouthed outburst towards Gunners fans.
Xhaka finally broke his silence on Sunday’s incident, which saw him tell booing supporters to ‘f**k off’ after he was substituted in their 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace, before stripping off his shirt and storming down the tunnel.
In a statement issued on Wednesday evening, Xhaka explained that he had reached ‘boiling point’ due to vile abuse that has been aimed at his wife and daughter over the last few months, apologising for ‘disrespecting the group of fans that support our club, our team and myself with positive energy’.
His ‘half-apology’ has not gone down well with some Arsenal fans on social media.
But Neville says such spats with fans are common in football and that he saw plenty of similar incidents during his 19-year career at Manchester United.
No, his bigger issues with the midfielder are his dreadful performances on the pitch, saying Xhaka ‘doesn’t lead in any way shape or form’.
Speaking to talkSPORT’s Laura Woods, Neville said: “I have a real problem every time I watch Xhaka play.
“He is the least-experienced experienced player I’ve ever seen, he doesn’t seem to learn. I’ve never known a player commit the same mistakes game after the game, he’s riddled with ill-discipline.
“He doesn’t lead in any way shape or form on the pitch, other than the fact he does seem to give his all and does, to be fair, fight for the team.
“I don’t have a problem with an incident like on Sunday. That can happen in football with passion, emotion, intention and ill-discipline.
“I’ve seen those types of things happen at United over the years where you can have a spat with fans. It’s never nice to watch, but as long as you apologise, you can never really come out of these situations unless you apologise to the fans.
“But from a Xhaka point of view, he commits hundreds of fouls every match, he gets a yellow or red card every time I watch him, it feels like, and his performance levels are poor for Arsenal.
“That’s my biggest problem with him, not really the incident on Sunday. I have a problem more with the way he plays for Arsenal than the odd bit of tension between him and the fans.
When suggested that emotionally the incident has taken a big toll on the midfielder, Neville responded: “Has it? Bless him.
“After the game the press department, manager and directors should have grabbed him and said ‘let’s be clear here, you’re going out there and you have to apologise. Just get it over and done with.
“But he didn’t do that.”
Listen back to a clip of Gary Neville on talkSPORT above
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