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Mikel Arteta: Arsenal manager only wants players ‘on the boat’

Matteo Guendouzi was dropped for ‘player management’ reasons after clashing with Brighton’s Neal Maupay

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta says he only wants players ready to jump “on the boat” after speculation about midfielder Matteo Guendouzi’s future.

It was reported the Frenchman, 21, had asked to leave the club after being dropped for the win at Southampton.

Arteta said Guendouzi was left out for “player management” reasons after clashing with Brighton’s Neal Maupay in the previous game last Saturday.

“All the players that are here, I am counting on them,” said Arteta.

“If they want on the boat, they are more than welcome and that’s always my mindset.

“I am here to help all of them to improve individually and collectively, and that is my job.”

Guendouzi was not charged by the Football Association for the incident with Maupay so is available for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Sheffield United.

The midfielder’s omission allowed Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka to make a successful return from injury at Southampton.

Xhaka, 27, was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy by former boss Unai Emery after he was involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace in October, but Arteta did not say whether he could regain the armband.

“He’s a natural leader,” added the Gunners’ boss. “He’s someone who is always 1,000% committed, not just for himself but to help all his team-mates all the time.

“Hopefully I have 24 captains who are willing to take leadership wherever they like.”

Original article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53200641

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