Granit Xhaka has given an explanation as to why he has struggled to maintain a decent disciplinary record for much of his career.
The 24-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach during the summer, kept a ‘bad boy’ reputation on the pitch during his days in the Bundesliga after receiving several red cards.
Xhaka’s tendency to catch the attention of the referee has not changed much at Arsenal following a controversial sending off against Swansea City back in October and the concession of a penalty after a foul against Stoke City’s Joe Allen recently.
According to the Switzerland international, his passion is what often gets in the way.
“There are of course phases in the game where the line becomes blurred, but then you need to step up psychologically,” he said. “I play with a lot of emotion because I’m a passionate guy and I play with that passion.
“I love playing that way. Sometimes you’re late onto the ball, sometimes you’re not. Sometimes you make contact with the guy when you tackle him, sometimes not. It’s a sport where individual duels are vital so I don’t see it as a problem.
“I wouldn’t change myself for anybody. I am who I am, people accept me or they don’t. I have my strengths and my weaknesses which I can try to improve upon, of course. I’m still not the finished product. I’m only 24 so I’ve got plenty of time to keep improving.”