Granit Xhaka identifies "important" role Thomas Partey will play at Arsenal

Granit Xhaka says Thomas Partey’s leadership skills will help guide Arsenal’s young guns to greatness.

Partey made his first start in over a month after returning from a hip injury in Monday night’s 3-0 win over Newcastle.

The £45m man bossed midfield with an assist and a 95% pass rate in the game, which saw youngsters Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe both shine.

And Xhaka believes experienced Ghana star Partey, who won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, can help them to thrive this season.

Xhaka said: “You can see he brings a lot of experience and a high level. He wins a lot of duels. He is so good with the ball.

“It is so important to have one guy like him, because the experience that he brings is so important for this young team.”

With Mesut Ozil in Turkey completing his move to Fenerbahce, Arsenal will be relying on the likes of Smith Rowe, 20, and Saka, 19, even more in future.

Xhaka said: “They have a lot of talent and work hard and the guys are, first off, very good guys and they work very hard and this is the key.

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“Our job is to keep going with the young guys in front of us. We have to push these young guys to keep improving and keep going.

“We have taken a lot of points but it is a long season ahead of us. It’s very important to go step-by-step.”

Xhaka was also pleased to see skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang score his first league goals since before Christmas – and has backed him to go on a run.

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He said: “Everyone knows how important he is for us – not only on the pitch, but off the pitch as well.

“Of course, every player has these moments where it is not going well for them. But he has kept going and training hard.

“I am so happy for him. He scored today and helped us. He was always ready. There are always moments where things aren't going so well.

“But he showed one more time today how important he is for us and I'm so happy for him. I hope he can continue like this.”

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