Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has defended Granit Xhaka, hitting back at criticism from Gary Neville following the midfielder’s mistake in Sunday’s north London derby.
Switzerland international Xhaka gave away a penalty when he made a rash challenge on South Korea striker Son Heung-min, leaving Harry Kane to fire home from 12 yards.
Neville lambasted Xhaka, saying he makes similar mistakes “week in, week out”.
“Absolute madness from Xhaka,” Neville said , commentating on the match for Sky Sports.
“He does it week in, week out. Season after season. He doesn’t seem to learn.”
Former Arsenal midfielder Parlour admits Xhaka didn’t have the best game and said he must learn from his costly mistake – but insisted Neville’s summation of the 26-year-old was wrong.
“Xhaka is good on the ball, he’s decent,” Parlour told Talksport. “He can spray passes 25 or 30 yards no problem, he’s very good at doing that.
“Sometimes he fits in and keeps it simple, but at the weekend he didn’t have a good game.
“You know when you’ve not had a good game as a player and I’m sure he knew that at the end but he’s got to get back now, he’s skipper, he can’t let it worry him.
“Xhaka has just got to calm down sometimes, he’s got to be a bit cleverer, you’ve got to be clever as a player.
“When you’re captain you can’t make mistakes like he did and give the other team opportunities to score goals.
“For the penalty, it was a really poor decision from him to go in like that.
“You can’t just dive in like that. He’s got to learn from that, he’s got to be a bit more disciplined.”