Matteo Guendouzi believes Arsenal manager Unai Emery played a big role in his call-up to the France squad this week.
The 20-year-old’s performances for Arsenal earned the defensive midfielder his first chance to link up with the France squad following Paul Pogba’s withdrawal.
Guendouzi played a key role in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby on Sunday after the French youngster teed up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score their second-half equaliser.
The Arsenal star has been a key part of Emery’s team since his move to the English capital despite his limited experience at the top level before his Gunners switch.
Guendouzi has now revealed that a pre-season chat with Emery helped to inspire the Arsenal midfielder to take his game to the next level.
“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, as quoted by Metro.
“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.”
Asked how he reacted to his call-up, he added: “Oh wow! With stars in your eyes. You struggle to go to sleep, you try and reply to all the messages.
“Since I was 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.”
Arsenal signed Guendouzi in a £9m deal from Ligue 2 side Lorient in the 2018 summer transfer window.
Emery didn’t hesitate to give the youngster a chance to prove himself in the Arsenal team.
Guendouzi made 48 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions in the 2018-19 season.
Arsenal have collected seven points from their opening seven games to make a strong start to the Premier League season.
The Gunners haven’t won the Premier League title since 2003-04 when Arsene Wenger led Arsenal to their famous unbeaten season.