Arsenal defender has spoken up for himself.
Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi has shrugged off a global fan poll naming him as one of the worst defenders in the world.
Speaking to German outlet Der Speigel, Mustafi says that he believes the criticism he has received has been completely over the top.
Mustafi struggled for form last season but has begun to show improvement over the past month, playing a role in the Gunners keeping three clean sheets.
He said the criticism has been tough to deal with at times for him. Arsenal paid £35 million to sign Mustafi in 2016.
Mustafi said: “I would think about it more seriously if it had been a survey among the best coaches in Europe.
“In the first two years after my move to Arsenal in 2016, things went very well for me. I saw myself as a top performer. But shortly after Christmas 2018 there was a kink.”
Mustafi says he backs himself and is getting back to his best. He also shrugged off a poor performance in the defeat to Liverpool as he had been struggling with injury beforehand. He has bounced back since.
Arsenal are doing well at present, sitting as high as in third place in the Premier League table and with two wins out of two in the Europa League.
This has led to fans being more receptive to his comments, and feeling a little regretful about being so harsh towards the German centre-back.
Here is a look at some of the reaction to his response..
What people dont realise is that Mustafi and Xhaka are confidence players. Clearly shows with Mustafi interview that has been released. At the end of the day, he is an Arsenal player. We must get behind our players no matter what— Mufi (@Mufz11) October 8, 2019
COYG ❤#afc #Arsenal
Have to put my hands up for the criticism I have shown to @MustafiOfficial but this mentality and character is absolutely inspiring.— Vilx (@Vilxir) October 8, 2019
Good for you and you deserve minutes with your performances to date this season. #AFC
Credit to Mustafi for getting through this. He was definitely scapegoated by our fans with being solely held responsible for our calamity of a defence. Now we’re starting to see how average our other defenders also are, as well as how Emery could do better with coaching. #afc— Fabian (@fabianmansson) October 8, 2019
@MustafiOfficial Much improved performances so far this season. Keep working hard, brother, and keep putting up clean sheets. Everything else will iron itself out.— MV (@kissthecannon) October 8, 2019
Mustafi opening up about his battle with personal criticism, How it effect him mentally and his family is the painful piece of experience one might learn from.— bAkAtsInE (@_lukmanB) October 8, 2019
Footballers are also humans full of emotions and feelings. We’ve to be reasonable and constructive in our criticism tbh