Former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira admits he feels sorry for Granit Xhaka and backed the midfielder to bounce back from recent drama.
Xhaka was stripped of the Gunners captaincy after reacting angry to Arsenal fans last month, with coach Unai Emery conceding his future at the Emirates is now uncertain.
While many have criticised Xhaka for his behaviour, Vieira sympathised with the Switzerland international, stressing he deserves more respect than what he’s been getting.
“I feel sorry for him because he (was) the captain and he’s going through a really difficult period and really difficult time at Arsenal,” Vieira told British media.
“I think we have to remind ourselves that he’s achieved a lot since he’s at Arsenal and he deserves a lot of respect.
“When you’re a player and don’t perform the way you expect, you get frustrated about yourself. And sometimes you say things or do things you regret.
“I find it really difficult a lot of ex-footballers have jumped on him and being really negative towards him – it’s too too easy.
“I know how good he is and he will come through this difficult period because he’s a strong man, he’s a good player. And he will show how good he is.”
Vieira spent the majority of his playing career with the Gunners but also went on to enjoy stints with Juventus, Inter Milan and Manchester City.
Having hung up his boots in 2011, the former France international has now made his way into management.
After two years in charge of MLS side New York City, Vieira is currently coaching Nice and while focused on the job at hand in Ligue 1, he concedes a future move back to England is appealing.
“You dream about coaching one day in the Premier League,” he said. “You will want to coach one of the teams that you play for.
“But you know what I am really focusing at the moment is how we can improve in Nice, to do better in the league.”
Nice are currently 13th in Ligue 1 and have won just one of their past eight matches in all competitions.