Guendouzi pinpoints pre-season chat with Emery as key to his form

Guendouzi pinpoints pre-season chat with Emery as key to his form

The midfielder spoke with the Arsenal boss in pre-season.

Leanne Prescott

A strong performance in the weekend's North London derby saw Matteo Guendouzi earn his first call-up to the senior France squad.

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Midfielder earns call-up after best performance in an Arsenal shirt

The midfielder put in arguably his best display since moving to Arsenal, putting a strong shift in at both ends of the field to quell Tottenham's counter-attack and add much needed creativity in the final third.

A staunch tackler, his blanket presence ahead of the back-four was vital in ensuring Arsenal didn't concede more than two goals in the first-half, while the second saw him benefit from more control of possession.

It was his ball that perfectly picked out the run of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang inside the box before the striker managed to neatly tuck it past the onrushing Hugo Lloris and bring the scores level.

The 20-year-old has started all four of Arsenal's Premier League games this season but this was a performance that typified not only his tenacious work ethic but his wider potential at the spine of the midfield. 

Originally called up to the France Under-21 squad, he was dually rewarded with a promotion to Didier Deschamps' senior squad following an injury to Manchester United's Paul Pogba. 

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Guendouzi earmarks pre-season chat with Emery as key to development

Speaking about his call-up, Guendouzi believes he has earned the right to play at this level, pinpointing a pre-season conversation with Unai Emery as key in helping him kick on this season.

"Whether it's defensively, with the ball and without it, the manager wanted me to work on a lot of things," Guendouzi told L'Equipe

"At a tactical level, I felt I progressed a lot. I managed to make myself important in the team. It's something I really wanted to do. The manager told me he knew that I would be a key part of his team this year. That's what I've managed to do so far."

Reflecting on his reaction following a call-up to the international squad, he said: "Oh wow! With stars in your eyes. You struggle to go to sleep, you try and reply to all the messages."

"Since I was a kid, it was a goal of mine. A dream. The fact it's become true, you recall all the steps in your career: the hard times, the important moments."

"It's when you're on the phone with your family that it sinks in. There are some crying. Wearing this shirt, it's a great honour."