[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t appears the Swiss have taken inspiration from their central European counterparts Belgium in their development of young talent, as Granit Xhaka appears to be the latest future star to roll off the Swiss talent conveyor belt.
One of the reasons for Borussia Mönchengladbach’s recent success was Xhaka’s dominating performances in the centre of midfield alongside Thorgan Hazard and Patrick Herrmann.
Blessed with one of the best left foots in the modern game, Xhaka is renowned and loved by the BMG fans for his excellent cross-field switches to the wings. A natural at dead-ball situations, Granit Xhaka has a unique ability to strike a ball extremely hard from free-kicks, as seen by his superb goal against Villarreal.
Dubbed by the Swiss national manager as ‘the young Schweinsteiger’ and by his teammates as ‘the young Einstein’ due to his intelligence and love for science off the field, it’s clear that Xhaka is highly rated amongst his peers. This notorious intelligence also translates onto the pitch as a technically gifted midfielder who can distribute the ball around the park with ease. However Xhaka has even more to his game, he possesses a superb tackle with a fierce yet restrained aggression.
Former Basel coach Thorsten Fink once said that “Xherdan Shaqiri is the finest talent in Switzerland – after Granit Xhaka”, demonstrating how highly rated Xhaka is in Switzerland.
Sometimes however, Xhaka’s great vision can be more of a blessing than a curse, and he will often try the difficult option, especially from deep which inevitably can lead to counter-attacks. However decision-making is always a classic downside of any young player, and will only develop with time and experience.
Another downside is that statistically Xhaka’s assists/goals record don’t appear to be evident of a future star, the Swiss only scoring twice and assisting one last season. However he is often deployed as holding player alongside Havard Nordtveit in the Borussia Mönchengladbach midfield, hence why it’s expected that he won’t be leading the goals/assists charts.
This next season will be an important one for Granit Xhaka, having cemented his place in the Mönchengladbach setup, many will be watching to see if he can make the leap from hot prospect to a player attracting interest from Europe’s top clubs.
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